About Us

Aboriginal peoples, as individuals and within their families and communities, have been profoundly hurt across generations by layered historic, social and cultural (complex) trauma. ‘Closing the Gap’ on Aboriginal ‘disadvantage’, must acknowledge that where there is hurting, there has to be a healing. In healing, people’s Trauma Stories become the centrepiece for social healing action, where the storyteller is the teacher and the listener is the student or learner. We need to learn how to listen. We need to want to listen.

Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson (2012)

Kinship Connections was founded in 2012 when CEO, Ann Hawke, saw the need to do more for her people while working for the then Department of Child Protection (DCP), now Department of Communities. Ann was motivated by her passion to fully implement the Aboriginal Placement Principle – a legal requirement that Aboriginal children in care be placed in the most culturally appropriate foster family. Such placements, give the children the possibility of experiencing all the advantages of being brought up within their own culture, thus allowing their Aboriginal identity and sense of belonging to their community to become an important part of their healing journey.

Kinship Connection realises that providing children with knowledge of their family and cultural identity can encourage them to take control of their own spiritual healing. With the help of the Aboriginal community, “Who’s My Mob” was developed to provide children with an individualised family history book that spans five generations. The program entails an extensive process of genealogical research and community-based data gathering and is very well received by Aboriginal children and extended families.

At Kinship Connections, we pride ourselves on our strengths-based and solution-focused approach to complex problems and for the practical support offered to the Aboriginal community. The research and data-gathering process that identifies extended family has enabled us to identify a much wider range of potential kin-related foster placements for children than the current Departmental system is able to produce. These potential placement families are then formally assessed by the Department before placement is approved.

Kinship Connections is the only organisation in Australia dedicated to helping Aboriginal children transit out of State care by successful reconnecting them with family and kin and is widely valued and trusted by the Aboriginal community. We are also rapidly becoming the first port of call for Aboriginal families whose children either have been, or are at risk of, being involved in the justice system.

With all this in hand, there is much work to be done in facilitating the healing of past damage, improving the effectiveness of present services and facilitating improvements in the Care and Fostering service of the future – at the individual, family and community levels. Kinship Connections is committed to working in a variety of ways to help people make peace with their past and assist them to build hope and resilience for their future.