We know that the best way to respond to complex social issues within communities is with local energy, local passion and local solutions.
Queensland communities face no greater challenge than the increasing number of children entering the child protection system, and the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
This year QCOSS has partnered with the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC) to deliver the Strengthening Our Place initiative within Rockhampton and Fraser Coast. The initiative is designed to build the capacity of local communities to lead and implement place-based responses to this community issue.
Three projects received dedicated funding and support from QCOSS, QFCC and local advisory groups in 2017.
Our Voice – Families Being Heard is a Rockhampton-based project aimed at strengthening partnerships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agencies and communities, child protection agencies and the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.
Hervey Bay-based project Bringing and Keeping our Ghundus Home is designed to build the capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to build an alliance focussed on responding to the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care.
A leadership development project has also been initiated across both Rockhampton and Hervey Bay regions, bringing together emerging leaders from the community, non- government agencies and government to develop their skills in leading for social change.
Marj Speedy, who led the Bringing and Keeping our Ghundus Home project recently commented, “I have worked in this community for almost 20 years.
I have known many of these people for nearly as long. I have never before had the type of conversations which we shared at the Healing Circle. It has changed how we work together.”
QCOSS Community Capacity Lead Luke Baker said the projects have demonstrated the power of bringing people together and working collaboratively toward a common goal.
“It has all been promising in terms of local people demonstrating leadership in response to local challenges, and building on local strengths to respond and create stronger communities for our most vulnerable children,” Luke said.
“Both the Rockhampton and Hervey Bay Advisory Groups are leading place-based responses, thinking strategically and prototyping new ways of working.”