Honouring National Reconciliation Week at CareSouth

National Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

The theme for National Reconciliation Week 2023, Be a Voice for Generations, encourages all Australians to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways in our everyday lives – where we live, work and socialise.

The journey toward reconciliation

We are proud to say that at CareSouth, reconciliation is at the forefront of every interaction, conversation, decision and action. It underpins all the work that we do alongside Aboriginal families and stakeholders and is a key focus of CareSouth’s Buwanha Aboriginal collective.

Buwanha – the Aboriginal word for grow – is a committee of 10 staff members set up to support Aboriginal families and staff and drive reconciliation. Buwanha meets monthly to discuss strategies to strengthen, review and monitor CareSouth’s practice with Aboriginal children, young people, families and communities.

Last year, the committee developed the Buwanha Cultural Consult Panel, a referral process for staff to tap into the expertise of Aboriginal staff members in developing cultural connections through Family Finding, additional support in identifying a family’s Aboriginal descent, connecting families to culture, community, services, programs and resources, and providing culturally appropriate support for initial foster care placement or a change of care placement. 

Earlier this year, Buwanha also began assisting with the cultural component of foster carer recruitment to assist those supporting Aboriginal families. As part of the Step by Step assessment tool used for prospective foster carers, Buwanha helps assess the Aboriginal Cultural competence of new foster carers. This part of the assessment needs to be completed by an Aboriginal assessor or an Aboriginal advisor, and in CareSouth’s process, the Buwanha members are the advisors.

Creating a better Australia for us all

CareSouth’s Aboriginal Community Development officer Rashelle said this year’s National Reconciliation Week theme urges all Australians to use their power, their words and their actions to create a better, more just Australia for all of us.

“Our research shows large community support for the next steps in Australia’s reconciliation journey, including the Voice to Parliament, treaty making and truth-telling,” Rashelle says. “For the work of generations past and the benefit of generations future, let’s choose to create a more just, equitable and reconciled country for all. We all have a role to play when it comes to reconciliation, and in playing our part, we collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, cultures and futures.”

National Reconciliation Week runs from 27 May to 3 June each year. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision, respectively.

CareSouth believes reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.