The most important thing the Kinship program Minbani Bebe wants the public to understand is that they don’t take children away from their families, they bring them back.
A child in Territory Families out of home care can go years without having connection to their family. Minbani Bebe’s work is about finding those connections and bringing families back together.
“Family finding is a really important part of our work and generally families like it. They can sit down and talk about their family, obviously some elements are traumatic for people, but we can help them to know about their families especially where there has been disconnection” says Program Manager Pam Marwood. Minbani Bebe also undertake the carer assessments to help people become registered cares. Being a registered carer means that you will be financially supported to care for the children.
We also need Aboriginal foster carers and are looking for people who want to care for children. If you want to make a difference in the life of a child, becoming a foster carer can be really rewarding.
It is important for children who are taken into care to remain connected to their culture or be with carers who understand their culture.
There are many strong Aboriginal families who might be interested in becoming carers and Minbani Bebe is happy to talk to people about what it means to be a carer and what the process is.
Reform recognises importance of family
Aboriginal children are overrepresented in the child protection system in the NT and a reform was set up by Territory Families to acknowledge the necessity of access to family, kin and culture for Aboriginal children in care.
As part of the reform, Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations like Larrakia Nation have been funded to set up kinship programs throughout the NT. The priority is for children in care to find their family and create safe connections to kin.
The long journey of connection
A child in care will be referred to Minbani Bebe from Territory Families and will go through a process of family finding. Starting with the parents of the child, they map the family and work with families to find the right connection points for that child. This process can be long and requires trust and confidence in program.
Having Aboriginal case workers makes a huge difference in helping families build that trust. Program Officer Joelle Bin Saris says that “right from the get-go Aboriginal people in the community are more likely to speak to an Aboriginal organisation. If they see us and they know we are Aboriginal too, we have our Larrakia shirts on which makes a big difference. This is why Territory Families wants us to take be a part of this important reform”.
Reconnecting children back with family can start with visits back home to community and rebuilding relationships and getting to know family again, or it can be respite care which means part time care like weekends or holidays. Kinship carers are also fulltime carers until children can be reunited with their parents.
Families know what is right for the child
The focus is around finding a person in a family who can speak for the child in care, and getting that person and those family members together to be able to have meetings to figure out how to reconnect the child with their family. A child may not be able to live with family full time, but they can still have vital connections.
Pam explains “families play an important part of decision making when it comes to placing a child back with family, and family getting together to work out how they can work together to help raise the child is essential”.
To find our more
If you want to know more contact the amazing team at Minbani Bebe on 08 8997 2111 or firstname.lastname@example.org