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Working for a better future and outcomes for our children


The Cape York Partnership has just released its "Family Empowerment Report for January–June 2018". This Report showcases the continuing hard work and successes of the many committed individuals and families that we work with across Cape York, as they seek to close the gap on Indigenous inequality and disadvantage and create a better future for the generations to come. We are honoured to share their stories with you. (to read more and to access the report click here:


Message from CEO:

I am pleased to present the Cape York Partnership Family Empowerment Report for January–June 2018. This Report showcases the continuing hard work and successes of the many committed individuals and families that we work with across Cape York, as they seek to close the gap on Indigenous inequality and disadvantage and create a better future for the generations to come. We are honoured to share their stories with you.

Across the Cape York Welfare Reform (CYWR) communities of Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge, 2,411 individuals have now signed up to one or more Opportunity Products; 2,137 (88%) are still current members. These partners across the CYWR communities have: learnt to budget and take charge of their family finances; saved over $3.1M for their children’s education; strengthened their parenting skills to provide their children with the essentials for a happy and healthy future in their homelands of Cape York and beyond, and much more.

A good education is key to ensuring our children have the requisite skills and tools to fulfil their potential and have the future they deserve. In this Report, we highlight how students of Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy (CYAAA), Djarragun College, Girl Academy and Cape York Leaders Program (CYLP) are supported to attend, learn and flourish. We pursue opportunities that enable our students to achieve great things. For example, the CYAAA school band recently showcased their musical abilities, talents and confidence by performing on stage in front of a large audience at the Big Talk One Fire Indigenous festival in Cairns.

In this report you will read about how Cape York Employment (CYE), Bama Services and Cape York Timber continue to support Indigenous employment and economic development, which is a key objective of CYWR. By the end of June, CYE had placed 598 jobseekers into employment with 137 (23%) having remained in their jobs for 26+ weeks. 

Maintaining our strong cultures and languages is also critical. Pama Language Centre has had further great success in utilising the mediums of music, art and film as a means to engage First Nations people in their Ancestral Languages. 

Thank you for your ongoing support as we and our partners progress on our empowerment journey. We look forward to sharing further progress as more of our partners achieve their individual goals.

Yours sincerely,

Fiona Jose 
CEO, Cape York Partnership


  1. Where your mob from: Cape Town, South Africa 

  2. Name an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person that has influenced your life or encouraged to be the person you are? Nadia Currie and Koiki Mabo 

  3. 5 things I cannot live without: My family including my besties who I call my sisters Nadia and Amy, Kenya my Irish Wolfhound cross Old English Sheepdog, laughter, Old school R&B/Reggae music, hot chicken curry.

  4. What is your favourite flavoured ice cream? Hokey Pokey

  5. If you could have a drink with someone from history who would it be? Nelson Mandela. And what drink would you have? Rooibos tea. 

  6. If you could be an animal what would you be? Leopard

  7. What is your favourite season and why? Spring, because I am constantly amazed at the resilience and perseverance I see in the trees and plants to adapt to change and still thrive. 

  8. What do you miss most about being a kid? My Ouma Braaf’s guava pudding, family gatherings at our house and waking up to see Table Mountain every day. 

  9. What hobby or activity that you don’t do now but think you might like to do when you retire? Glass blowing.

  10. What goes through your mind when your boss asks to talk to you privately? Time to learn something new!

  11. What song do you love to dance to? The Way You Do The Things You Do by UB40

Lisa Spengler

Hello, I’m the new student placement at QATSICPP,

My name is Lisa Spengler and I am excited to have recently started my final 500 hour social work placement at QATSICPP. This is part of a Masters of Social Work from the Queensland University of Technology. My previous placement was working in the domestic violence field on a Men’s Behavioural Change program at Relationships Australia. Before this I worked predominantly in environmental conservation all over this beautiful land – working on national conservation policies and programs in Canberra; assisting to manage an eco-tourism retreat on the West Coast; leading teams of conservation volunteers in Queensland and also working for a brief stint in a National Park jointly managed with traditional owners in New South Wales. Some of my interests include social justice, nature conservation, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing and gender equality.

I am excited to be working with and learning from such a passionate team here at QATSICPP. As part of my placement I will be working with Candice to develop the QATSICPP student hub. This will be a hub for social work students who will undertake their placements within member organisations of QATSICPP. We are looking to establish the hub in south-east Queensland and we will be in touch in coming months with local member organisations to gather information about how these placements can best support you and the great work you do.

Lisa Spengler

Torres Strait Mura Buai Wellbeing Service

(Mura Kosker Sorority Inc. Thursday Island) 

Mura Kosker Sorority Incorporated (MKS) in collaboration with the Benevolent Society and the Lena Passi Women’s Shelter applied for and successfully won the grant tender to deliver Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Wellbeing Services, in the Torres Strait Region.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing Program is funded by the Queensland Government as part of their commitment to building a new child and family support system (Supporting Families Changing Futures) over the next 10 years which will have greater focus on supporting families to provide a safe and secure home for their children.  

Through the Support Families Changing Futures reform program the Government aims to:

  • Reduce the over representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in the child protection system
  • Revitalise front line services
  • Refocus on learning, improving and taking responsibility for a better child protection system.

MKS is excited to be a part of this Queensland Governments strategy to meet the needs and requirements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and community. 

The organisation is contracted to provide access to culturally responsive support that improves the social, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing of families residing in the Torres Strait region and builds their capacity to safely care for and protect their children.

Mura Kosker Sorority holds no reservations about the magnitude of the task ahead, but we are committed to changing the storyline for all our families by working together with Government, Non-government agencies and the Torres Strait community to empower our families and our communities.

Article provided by Latoya Nakata from Mura Kosker Sorority Inc.

Family Matters: Strong Communities. Strong Culture. Stronger Children is Australia’s national campaign to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people grow up safe and cared for in family, community and culture.

Since May and the Family Matters National Week of Action (May 14 – 20), we have continued to drive targeted efforts and strategies lead by the Queensland Family Matters Leadership Group. The Leadership Group comprises signatories to the Family Matters campaign and sets the priorities for action in our jurisdiction. 

Latest Queensland Family Matters Leadership Group meetings were held in May and July, with another set for August. A key work priority at this time has included finalising a request for regionally disaggregated data sets, to move toward a routine arrangement for collation and distribution of regional report cards. 

A separate data group was formed earlier in the year from the composition of the Leadership group, to develop the indicators that make up the content of the request. The aim is to develop routine, regional report cards that profile key outcomes and indicators, consistent with the scope of measures included in the Family Matters national report; to begin to tell our own narrative between the regional, state and national levels. 

Another priority that is being progressed is the development of a Family Matters organisational self-audit tool. The aim is to develop a self-audit tool that assesses organisational policy, practice, processes and programs against the four Family Matters Building Blocks. Once finalised, it will be a requirement that all signatories to the Family Matters Campaign complete the self-audit tool.

A continuing focus of Queensland Family Matters also includes raising the profile and engagement of the Campaign. Queensland now has its own webpage within the national Family Matters website ( which can be accessed via the interactive map of all jurisdictions. The Queensland page also includes access to resources, such as the Queensland Community Resource Guide. Your can also sign the Family Matters Pledge (for individuals) or Statement of Commitment (for organisations) at the 

As mentioned in the last newsletter edition, special thanks go again to all who supported and participated in the Family Matters National Week of Action (May 14 - 20). In addition to convening two film screening events for the Week, Family Matters Queensland also received submissions from young people who had their say on why family matters to them. 

We are excited to share one of the submissions from a young Aboriginal boy who is a descendant of the Yuggera people. 

“My family matters to me because they are loyal, caring, loving people. Family are important because if you are down they will cheer you up and if you make a bad decision they will never turn their backs on you.
Family will make sure that you have an honourable education.
Family means different things to different people but to me my family has a special culture. I am of Aboriginal descent and our tribe is the Yuggera tribe. We have a lot of family members. Some of them are more into the culture than others. Some do traditional paintings and sacred dances, for example my Aunty and my great-grandmother. 
My great-grandmother teaches me some of the words of the language of our tribe. I would like to say thank you to my ancestors who have passed on their language, and culture to younger generations because it forms an important part of my identity and also my family members.”


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Self-determination in Child Protection

by Candice Butller

I was honoured to be involved in a webinar alongside Muriel Bamblett on the 18thof July 2018 titled ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-determination in child protection’. The purpose of the webinar was to outline the recent initiatives that support self-determination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and agencies in child protection matters. Throughout my presentation I highlighted the following significant initiatives in Queensland that have occurred to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-determination in child protection:

  • The Child Protection Reform Amendment Act Section 5C - Additional Principles for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children
  • The embedding of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principles into both legislation and practice
  • The trials of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Led Decision Making
  • The beginning of conversations in relation to Active Efforts

I concluded my presentation by saying:

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-control is fundamental to self- determination and reflective of how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities operated in the past and to this day. Central to the concept is local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people or communities controlling and operating legally-incorporated, independent, community- based organisations, in which governance is by elected community members, and with objectives relating to building strength and empowerment in community.

We need to ensure that our families and communities are being involved in every decision relating to the safety and wellbeing of their children in the child protection system. We need our families to be able to say who they would like to be involved and be at the forefront of decision making”.

If you would to listen to the webinar, please follow this link

To join the conversation - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-determination in child protection, click on the link

Please feel free to contact Candice if you have any further questions about the webinar.

Mulungu Logo 0715 copy

Mulungu Newletter Article August 2018 Glen Hussey

Aunty Val, and Nathan representing Mulungu at Mossman High School, engaging with stakeholders such as Education QLD, YETI, Mossman Youth Support Services, and Intensive Family Support workers. This particular class has been developed by the school to engage indigenous youth, that were formerly identified as not engaging.

With the program kick off in June 2017, like all new programs, the journey was a rocky one, full of mistakes, learnings, adapting, flexibility, all with the end goal of best practice, for the best results for our families. The only way was up, and we have done exactly that – we are getting there. Our statistics and reputation have gone from strength to strength.
The success has been contributed to the leadership ensuring that staff have been provided with the tools and resources to do their jobs well through upskilling staff and regular communication, team building exercises, case conferencing and case co-ordination of our Family Services. We also recognise key pivotal staff members, and the success of our stakeholder engagements.
The increased engagement with stakeholders through our model of case management has seen the biggest improvement which has contributed to increased outcomes for our clients. We have gone from hesitantly attending child safety meetings, to inviting Child safety to our own driven care team meetings. This change has not only swung the power into our direction, but built the confidence of our staff members, and the confidence of our families and communities, in the strength of our organization to advocate for them.
With the intent of this program and the collaboration with the Department, sees the best service delivered to identified families in need and a swift response to the departments regarding high priority referrals. The services delivery happens with them for them and not to them. Our relationship and communication with stakeholders ensures that the service that they now provide to our families are what our families need and the quality of this delivery is of a medium to high level standard and not tokenistic.
The greatest success, is now witnessing CSO’s and investigating officers, not only respect our practice techniques, but tailor and often duplicate our methods. On a daily occurrence, we are now receiving calls from investigating officers, asking advice, and assistance with families prior to their engagement. The change has been the beginning of a symbiotic relationship that can only benefit all those involved, especially our direct clients.
Mulungu Family Services have an integrated whole of life model for primary health care and social and emotional wellbeing. Twelve months on we are still looking at innovative practices that improve the health and wellbeing of our families and ensure family led decision making is at the forefront to establish their ongoing storyline.
Arna Brosnan from the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women, who is the Regional Director for Northern Queensland Region has provided the below quote in relation to the Mulungu Family Wellbeing Service:
“Mulungu Family Well Being Service is striving ahead supporting and challenging families in the Northern Tablelands area to make the changes necessary to improve the long-term outcomes for their children.

The Service has been very proactive in working with parents encouraging them to become more involved with their children, to seek better choices and to engage with services that will help make sustainable changes that will bring lifelong benefits to their children’s lives.
This agency is proving to be a real leader in the sector.”

Good News Story
Mulungu’s Family Care Service was called to assist with a family in need. The parents had 2 children removed from the family and the concern was the return of a baby into the care of this family. The environment where the parents were living was overcrowded, violent and disruptive. Engagement was rough with not parents not wanting to engage and hence we accompanied the CSO’s to engage. On assessment and review we purchased resources to make the home safe and purchased medical assistance. The parents relapsed at the 8 week point with both parents incarcerated overnight. We same day sourced and relocated mum and her new borne to a safe place with a family member and sought assistance from a domestic violence service in Cairns. Mum consented to entering a 3mth rehabilitation program and with further support, we supported her to access her accommodation for her and her happy healthy thriving baby. Mum is now making an application for the return of her older children. We are proud of mum as she left the environment that had the impacting issues and is focused on a positive future.

Mulungu Family Care Service

Aunty Val

Aunty Val cooking up a storm.

New report shows long-term disadvantage for Australia’s Stolen Generations

 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Stolen Generations and descendants: numbers, demographic characteristics and selected outcomes

Today the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released Australia’s first demographic and policy impact study of the Stolen Generations and their descendants.
Commissioned by The Healing Foundation, this report for the first time provides comprehensive data to illustrate the direct link between the forced removal of tens of thousands of children from their families and the real life symptoms of trauma across our families and communities, for example:

  • 67% live with a disability or restrictive long-term condition,
  • 70% rely on government payments as their main source of income, and
  • 40% have experienced homelessness in the past 10 years.

This data is a demonstration of the lived experience of our Stolen Generations and the pain they have had to endure over a lifetime, which they have bravely and repeatedly detailed in over 19 reports. Twenty one years on from the tabling of the Bringing Them Home Report there has still not been a comprehensive policy response.
The report is part of an ongoing needs analysis being led by The Healing Foundation, and involving Stolen Generations groups from around Australia. The data is being used to determine priorities for future strategies and services, as part of our Action Plan for Healing. This work was funded by the Federal Government last year and we are hopeful that it will result in the action that is desperately needed to break the trauma cycle and create healing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

I have no doubt that the information contained here will help build a broader understanding of the issues that have been created for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through actions like the forced removal of children from their families. And a better understanding is the first step to creating meaningful change.
Here is the link to the report and a summary of the key findings. Please share this information with your networks. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to our work and we look forward to furthering our conversation about the future work needed to support our Stolen Generations members, their descendants and communities.


The Healing Foundation

Link to report:
Link to summary of key findings:

  • Child Protection Environment


    of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were placed with a kinship or Indigenous carer.
  • Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak


    There are 69,200 Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander children / young people in Queensland.