Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation

Child, Youth and Family Services | Myimbarr

Caring for Aboriginal children and young people and keeping them safe and connected to their community

Myimbarr Aboriginal Family Support

The Myimbarr division of the Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation operates two Family and Youth Support Services and a Learning Centre for Indigenous children. The Out of Home Care (OOHC – Foster Care Service) operates from our Rawson Street, Wollongong Office.

Our Protecting Aboriginal Children Together (PACT) program operates from our Oak Flats Office.

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Out of Home Care (OOHC) Foster Care

Our Out of Home Care (OOHC) Foster care program aims to keep Aboriginal children and young people (0-18) connected with their family and community and to assist their carers to support this connection. We aim to keep Aboriginal children in safe environments and to promote their education and emotional well being.


Our Objectives are to:

  • keep Aboriginal children and young people safe
  • protect children and young people from abuse and exploitation by offering a place of safety in times when it is needed
  • provide out of home care as a last resort and only when such care is in the best interest of the child or young person
  • support the foster family to provide the best possible care to best meet the unique needs of the child or young person
  • meet the child or young person’s physical, social, emotional, educational, and cultural needs
  • assist in keeping children and young people in their families and communities
  • limit foster care to the shortest time where possible so as not to jeopardise family relationships


Foster Carer Recruitment

We are always looking for dedicated Aboriginal and non Aboriginal carers that want to make a real and lasting impact on the life of an Aboriginal child or young person. This is a very important role that research shows can vastly improve a child or young person’s future opportunities and reduce their chances of health concerns, unemployment and homelessness.

Our foster care program is for Aboriginal and non Aboriginal carers but we would especially like to appeal to Aboriginal carers that can connect the children to their community and culture. A third of all children in care are Aboriginal and so we would like as many Aboriginal carers as possible to develop and maintain these cultural links.


Types of Foster Care

Respite care allows families that are experiencing difficulties to have a break and to provide their child or young person with a positive experience for a short term with a suitable carer. Short term or temporary care is limited to a maximum of 12 months after which a child or young person may return to their family or be placed in long term care. Long term care helps children or young people that cannot safely return to their families and supports them until their family situation changes or until they become an adult.


Eligibility to be a Foster Carer

We encourage you to contact us to discuss your eligibility. Our assessment process will take into account the following details:

  • Your age and ability to provide the required length of care
  • Whether you are a single person, a couple in a stable relationship or a family
  • Your physical, emotional and mental health
  • Your financial resources and accommodation
  • Your skills in interacting with and caring for children and young people
  • Your acceptance of Myimbarr’s aims and goals for the child or young person including contact visits, community involvement and cultural understanding.
  • Your commitment to safe, suitable and responsible interactions


How to become a Foster Carer

You can download a Guide to becoming a Foster Carer here (coming soon). After you have read that, your next step is to contact the Out of Home Care Team Leader (4226 3358) to enquire about our Foster Care service. A worker will meet with you to guide you through the process of becoming a Foster Carer for Aboriginal children and young people.

  • No previous experience required
  • Pre assessment training program
  • Support through the assessment process
  • Ongoing support, training and information provided by an allocated caseworker


What can you expect from Myimbarr?

Myimbarr will provide you with training and ongoing support to ensure that you have the skills and resources to assist you in this very important role. When you become a carer we will continue this support through contact visits, case conferences, community events and cultural activities. We will also provide you with counselling, coaching, financial and other forms of support.

  • Support and training for all carers to ensure the highest quality of care
  • Financial support for carers, children and young people to support their wellbeing
  • Regular contact, case conferencing and community involvement
  • Support with all aspects of education, health and wellbeing
  • Referrals to other specialist support services


Protecting Aboriginal Children Together (PACT)

Our PACT service is a pilot program within the Shellharbour area that aims to keeps children safe and families together by providing culturally appropriate advice and assistance to families that have come to the attention of Family and Community Services (FACs) and by working with FACs to produce better outcomes for Indigenous families. PACT clients are referred directly by FACs and we are unable to provide assistance to clients that are not referred by FACs due to the nature of our program.


Our Objectives are to:

  • keep Aboriginal children and young people safe
  • reduce the number of Indigenous children and young people going into Foster Care
  • raise awareness of Child Protection in the Indigenous community
  • raise awareness of Indigenous culture and issues within Family and Community Services
  • build the capacity of Indigenous organisations to manage and respond to Child Protection issues in a culturally appropriate way


Client Eligibility

As PACT is a pilot program, the eligibility requirements for our clients are quite strict. This is so that the program can be assessed within a defined scope of study. The eligibility requirements are that families must be:

  • Aboriginal
  • residing within the Shellharbour Local Government Area
  • referred directly by Family and Community Services


How have you come to the attention of FACs?

Community Services have received information regarding safety issues concerning your child or children. The Child Protection team at Shellharbour FACs will conduct a safety and risk assessment based on this information which can include interviews, home visits, unannounced visits, assessments and communication with other service providers.


How can Myimbarr PACT help you?

PACT is an advisory service provided by Aboriginal Advisors working for the Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation. The PACT program is completely voluntary but aims to provide you with valuable assistance when dealing with the NSW Child Protection system. PACT will support decision making in the best interests of the child, meeting all their individual needs with a focus on connection to family, community and culture. Our advisors will help you:

  • to understand what is happening and why it is happening
  • to understand Family and Community Services processes and expectations
  • with culturally appropriate referrals to enable you to keep your children safe

If it is determined that the best needs of your child or children are served by being placed in care, the PACT team will assist with this process and endeavour to have your child placed with suitable family or community carers.


The Department of Family and Community Services

The Department of Family and Community Services provides funding to the Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation to run the PACT program however our advice and assistance will always be for the best interests of Indigenous children and young people and their families.

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