New tools

In other exciting news Winangay Resources are offering training in their new carer review tool, originally developed for Aboriginal Carers it has been customised to meet the needs of general (non Aboriginal) kinship and foster carers who are transitioning from FACS to the NGO’s in NSW. Feedback from previous training and workers using the tool has been very encouraging.


2012 National Foster and Kinship Care conference

The Winangay team were delighted to be selected to present at the National Foster and Kinship Care conference in Melbourne. The session provided the opportunity for the team lead by Aunty Susie Blacklock and joined by Gill Bonser and Paula Hayden to provide an update on recent achievements. (Karen Menzies was forced to withdraw late through illness)

The presentation was interactive and generated considerable interest from participants many of who stayed after the presentation to ask more questions and discuss training and implementation strategies.

Whilst in Melbourne the team caught up with Darryl Higgins and the team at AIFS, Muriel Bamblett and some of her VACCA kinship staff, Professor Jim Ife and a number of other friends of Winangay who presented at the conference.

We look forward to sharing with you more of the developments which are emerging following our trip to Melbourne and a number of partnership initiatives that are in the pipeline.


2012 ACWA conference

Our presentation was well attended and high energy. The attendees were from all the states and Territories and included Professor Fiona Arney from the Institute of Child Protection. We had some great questions and discussion especially about the new range of tools for non-Aboriginal carers and the brand new freshly piloted review tool. In response to requests we are running a training course on the new review tool at ACWA on the 19th and 20th November. Bookings and further information contact Stephanie at

  Upcoming Conferences

If you want to know more about the tools or training  then ring us or come to our presentations at the ACWA conference in Sydney in August; the Building Resilience- International Network of Indigenous Health Knowledge and Development conference in Brisbane in September; or the National Foster and Kinship Care conference in Melbourne in October.

 June 2012 – FAHCSIA Support!

Winangay are delighted that the federal government (FAHCSIA) have agreed to print the first round of the resources. We wish to thank them for their support.

This is a wonderful initiative as we will be able to provide the resource to all workers who attend Winangay assessment training.

“WINANGAY changes the way we work with Aboriginal families. So training in the use of the tool is essential” said Paula Hayden.

The FAHCSIA initiative means that at present we don’t have to charge for printing of the main Aboriginal assessment resource which is a considerable saving for services. Preference is being given to Aboriginal workers and organisations but it is available to any worker who attends the Winangay Aboriginal assessment training.

New Review Tool

After requests from a number of services, Winangay Resources have developed a new review tool to allow workers to conduct annual reviews of placements and carers. The tool has been derived from the main Winangay assessment resource. Like all the Winangay resources it involves a collaborative process with workers and carers working together to identify strengths and concerns, then creating an action plan to meet any identified unmet needs.

The tool comes complete with a workers guide, a series of questions put together in a conversational format and template for completing Action Plans and a Final Report Summary. Initial feedback has been very positive, particularly from carers. We look forward to further results.

“An easy to use, collaborative and engaging tool it provides the foundation for an effective case planning process.”

Talking about Winangay
Winangay have been yarning and meeting with people to ensure key stakeholders are aware of the Winangay resources and vision. This has included very positive meetings with the NSW Children’s Guardian (21st March), NSW Community Services Ombudsman (12th June), NSW FACS (5th July), their Aboriginal Ref group (29th May) and the ABSEC Board (18th July).

We have also been talking with SNAICC about the best way of training and supporting Aboriginal workers to access and use these tools.

Letter from Minister Jenny Macklin
In April 2012 Winangay received a letter from Federal Minister Jenny Macklin to let us know that:  “The Community Housing and Disability Services Ministers agreed in March that Winangay Aboriginal Kinship Care Tool should be incorporated into practice in all states and territories as a culturally appropriate good practice guide”. The letter went on to say…

 “I anticipate this resource will support Aboriginal Kinship Carers, leading to improved outcomes for carers and children in care, and ultimately for the broader Aboriginal population”

We were naturally delighted as this is our dream and desire,… better outcomes is just what we want!

Community Cabinet Meeting in Parramatta


Karen and Paula with the Prime Minister Julia Gillard

On the 4th April 2012, Karen Menzies (Vice Chair of Winangay) and Paula Hayden (Public Officer) attended the Parramatta meeting to meet with Minister Jenny Macklin (FAHCSIA). However when she was unexpectedly unable to attend, Karen and Paula had the opportunity to meet with Minister Brendan O’Connor and to discuss Winangay’s work, tools and future directions with him. Minister O’Connell congratulated the team and commented on the value of the resources and their importance for Aboriginal people.Karen and Paula also spoke briefly with the Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who expressed her interest in hearing about Winangay Resources.

The Launch … at last

Dawn Wallam Chair of SNAICC launching the resources

The resources were launched by Dawn Wallam Chair of SNAICC in a very moving speech. Dr Marilyn McHugh spoke about the resource and kindly read a foreword to the resources written by Professor Marianne Berry, the Director of the Australian Centre for Child Protection, SA.

“Long time friends” Aunty Sue and Linda Burney

 Paula Hayden emceed the launch while Karen Menzies, Aunty Susie and Gillian Bonser explained the context and use of the resource.

They were joined by a number of friends of Winangay including Linda Burnie and Noni Greenwood who talked about the resource and the importance of changing things for Aboriginal kids and families.

It was a very moving and emotional time and we were stunned and overwhelmed when the resource received a standing ovation at the end.

Thanks to all the Winangay Friends and family who attended to support us. This really is a shared journey!

Winangay friends and family at the launch

 SNAICC released a media release and stories appeared in the Koori Mail and the National Indigenous Times. NITV News also featured Aunty Sue Blacklock and Gillian Bonser talking about the resource and the importance of Aboriginal kids staying connected with culture, family and community.

National Foster & Kinship Carer Conference

From the 7th to 9th October 2011, the Winangay team (Aunty Sue, Paula and Gill) attended and presented at the National Foster and Kinship conference on the Gold Coast. One of the highlights for us was that we were accompanied by Aunty Maureen Newman from Moree, NSW, (who brings sunshine and laughter to any occasion). It was a fantastic conference and our presentation was really well received. Aboriginal workers from around Australia approached us about the tool and the feedback and excitement was very encouraging. The strong message was we have needed this sort of resource for a long time. We were all in tears when a key Aboriginal worker congratulated us on our work.

Visiting the pilot sites

In August 2011, We began to visit the pilot sites to speak to kin/relative carers, workers and other staff about the pilot process and to gather feedback on the resource ….its strengths and areas for improvement.

Starting out on the far side.. WA and the Kimberleys

Meeting with workers in Halls Creek WA

Our first visit was to the Kimberleys, a wonderful spiritual place but remote and filled with all the challenges the climate and land brings. We had really wondered how well the resource would translate into this environment. The hospitality we received in Kununurra and from Cheryl Nanini was amazing and as big as the land up there! We spent some time with staff in town and then Aunty Sue and Paula travelled down to Halls Creek to talk with staff and carers. We found that a picture really is worth a thousand words. The Winangay cards and pictures were immediately received with humour, laughter and lots of conversation followed. They had lots of ideas for new ways to use them. We also found we may need a couple more.

Judith, Aunty Sue, Paula and Gillian in Kununurra

We had the chance to meet with Judith Wilkinson (Director of Fostering WA) Renee Edwards (our Perth pilot worker) and a number of staff from other offices eg Broome who kindly flew up to meet with us. We had some really useful discussions about local needs and other new tools and resources that would be useful in remote communities. It was fantastic and we have come back with lots to think about and develop. We were delighted however with the way the pilot is going and how well the tool seems to be working in building strong relationship with carers. We were told the carers thought the pictures were deadly and seemed just as relevant as they are in NSW. Amazing really!

Next stop…Northern NSW where Aboriginal workers are putting the tool to work

Kay and Karen with Aunty Sue in Casino

Aunty Sue and Paula have also been to visit Ngunya Jarjum in Casino in Northern NSW to talk to them about the resource and their pilot site. Kay and Karen Williams have been using the tool with local Aboriginal carers. Things have also been going well there and they were able to provide us with lots of positive comments and some suggestions for improvement. The feedback generally was extremely favourable with the cards again being really embraced by carers. We were really impressed with the work they are doing and with their flexibility and hospitality. We also discussed the resource with a range of their other workers. It was a very fruitful visit which we really valued and enjoyed. Aunty Sue commented on how great it was to see Aboriginal carers being supported by caring Aboriginal workers and services.

Visits and focus groups will continue over the next few months…

The second pilot and we continue to expand!

1ST &  2ND August 2011 we conducted the second pilot training program in the centre of Sydney this time we had participants from the Northern Territory, South Australia,  ACT, Queensland and of course NSW! There can be little doubt at this stage that the word is getting out there. What is particularly exciting is that we are not marketing or advertising it is all word of mouth and most  of it from within the Aboriginal community. It really is blowing us away! Feedback was again very positive and we wait in anticipation to hear how the piloting goes! Here is a photo of all of our new Winangay participants!

In July 2011, Flic Ryan and Paula Hayden with Dr Marilyn McHugh will be presented a paper at the International Foster Care Organisation (IFCO) Conference in British Columbia Canada about the development of the resources.

International Foster Care Organization -IFCO 2011 World Conference was held in Victoria, BC, Canada … and it was Amazing!!

“The theme of “Fostering Hope -Together We Can Make a Difference” was in recognition of the crucial role we all play in the life of a child in care. Over 600 Foster Parents (Carers), Adoptive Parents, Social Workers, Clinicians, Teachers, Child Care Workers and volunteers from around the world all came together at IFCO 2011 to learn, share and collaborate.”

We were thrilled when the conference organisers provided us with the following feedback from participants about the Winangay workshop

  • Excellent. Well presented – Excellent tool. So respectful.
  • Great presentation – great work generates lots of ideas. Thanks
  • Deadly! – great chemistry among presenters
  • Motivating to look at a more culturally sensitive tool in our area
  • A fantastic tool, developed by passionate people.
  • It has many future applications, so this is exciting.
  • Very professional & informative & knowledgeable presenters
  • Deadly Thank you
  • Excellent
  • Excellent presenters, fresh perspective interesting thorough assessment & providing ongoing evaluation.
  • Could be used for all ages.
  • I thought it was excellent!!
  • Good tools – may be able to use it in my work!!
  • more information about our workshop and others is available at:

In addition we were rated 100% on all 3 scales ie: ‘relevant’ ‘engaging’ and ‘useful’

31st May and 1st June 2011 – The pilots begin!

We are very excited to let you all know about the first pilot group that was held in Sydney on the 31st May and 1st June 2011. The group was made up of 6 workers from WA, 3 from Queensland and 8 from NSW. We were delighted to have Dr Marilyn McHugh join us on day 1 and Aunty Sue Blacklock on Day 2.

The first pilot group May31st and June 1st 2011

During the two days workers were provided with an overview of the resources and had the opportunity to both use them and to ask questions. As one of the women noted, the room was full of power and some really awesome people. It was a privilege to be a part of it. People went away excited and fired up to bring change for Aboriginal families and kids. So now there are even more of us committed to walk together in strength  and passion to make a difference. These workers have taken the resources back to their communities to trial them with local kinship families. We look forward to watching the progress and hearing the stories and feedback about how it all goes, so we can refine them and make them even better.

Some comments from people about the new Aboriginal kinship resource at last weeks pilot training…

  • “This is self determination in action”
  • “Strength based and proactive”
  • “The questions are comfortable, and make it easy to talk about issues and important concerns”
  • “The tools are well structured and make sure you cover everything”
  • “The cards encourage people to go deeper and talk about issues more “
  • “Seamless from assessment to referral and support”
  • “This tool is engaging and builds relationships”
  • “Simple to use and works really well”
  • “I’m excited and can’t wait to use it with families”
  • “I’m feeling confident and comfortable”
  • “I have a sense of excitement and anticipation”
  • “I’m hopeful that we might really have something to raise the standard of practice in the field”
  • “3 thumbs up … this is deadly”
  • “ a breakthrough in relative care that we have needed for a long time… takes the leg work out of it… the tool is educational about how to work with people”
  • “ I’m feeling passionate and love it, this is fantastic for Aboriginal carers”
  • “this will empower workers and families”
  • “This has global application”
  • “Really worthwhile…. It will create hope and respect”
  • “I’m very honoured to part of this new way of working and the change it will bring”
  • “We will all walk together on this journey and bring a better
    future for our children and families”

In March 2011, Paula Hayden from Winangay Resources attended the SNAICC National Executive meeting to present their new Aboriginal Kinship Care Assessment Tool.

She was accompanied by Karen Barwick from the Hunter Aboriginal Children’s Services, who provided an Aboriginal worker’s perspective on the new tool. The tool was well received and an article about Winangay will appear in their June Newsletter.


If you want to know more about the tools or training  then ring us or come to our presentations at the ACWA conference in Sydney in August; the Building Resilience- International Network of Indigenous Health Knowledge and Development conference in Brisbane in September; or the National Foster and Kinship Care conference in Melbourne in October.

August 2012

Paula has just returned from NT and Queensland where she has been meeting with peak agencies and departmental representatives talking about the resources and the new way of working with Aboriginal carers.

Implementation has begun

Winangay have begun training NGO’s workers in the use of the assessment tool. Discussions and meetings have been occurring with representatives of the Queensland peak body (QATSSIPP), and the SA, WA and NT governments to consider the new approach and possible implementation strategies for the roll out of these resources.  Conversation has begun with other states and locations about how it fits with other initiatives.

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