06 November 2018

Connection to culture by Indigenous children and young people in out-of-home care in Australia

This research surveyed 296 Indigenous children and young people aged 10-18 years from across Australia to determine the strength of their connection to culture, and to identify mechanisms that facilitate this connection, including the level of cultural support planning and contact with family members. Thirty-one percent of respondents did not feel connected to culture and only 14% reported being aware of having a personal cultural support plan, despite the possession of a plan being a requirement of the National Standards in Out-of-Home Care introduced in 2011. Knowledge of their family story was found to be a major factor in predicting strength of connection to culture, as were support from carers and frequency of contact with their father. In contrast, contact with siblings was found to be negatively associated with connection to culture. Based on these findings, the author argued that workers must do more to ensure that these young people understand the long-term importance of being part of their culture and, if the young people wish, do everything possible to help them maintain that connection.