Closing the Gap - Indigenous Healing Foundation

Closing the Gap - Indigenous Healing Foundation

Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

Key Elements

The Australian Government will provide $26.6 million over four years for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation.

The Foundation will target the need for healing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, with a strong focus on the unique needs of Stolen Generations.

The Foundation will also seek funding from other government and non-government sources to help sustain itself over the longer term.

The Foundation will:

  • have the capacity to provide grants for healing programs;
  • build the evidence base through research and evaluation for effective prevention, treatment and aftercare initiatives which address healing; and
  • provide education and promotion of healing practices with communities and providers.

The potential benefits of healing for Indigenous Australians include increased well-being, pride and self-esteem, and a healthy cultural identity. It will also make communities safer by addressing anti-social behaviours, addictions and other impacts of trauma and grief.

Background

Since the motion of Apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples was introduced by the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on 13 February 2008, there have been strong calls for concrete action to address the intergenerational impacts of trauma and grief in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The Bringing Them Home Report (1997) estimated that between one in ten and one in three Indigenous children were removed from their families.

The Western Australian Child Health Survey 2005 highlighted the intergenerational effect of forcible removal for carers and children of carers who experienced a higher risk of emotional and behavioural problems, overuse of alcohol and were more likely to come in contact with the law. International experience shows that healing practices that result in positive changes in peoples’ lives have strong roots in Indigenous traditions, values and culture, while also incorporating Western and mainstream practices.

Implementation

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation Development Team has been convened by the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including Stolen Generations members, to ensure broad support for a Healing Foundation through consultation and to develop a proposal for the Foundation based on these consultations.

The members of the Development Team will consist of persons with strong expertise in Indigenous healing, knowledge of Stolen Generations issues and knowledge around establishing a Foundation.

A consultation and engagement strategy will used to create the Foundation’s vision and strategic plan. Funding of healing initiatives will commence in 2010.

Total Government Funding

$26.6 million over 4 years.

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