CAMHS Aboriginal Services - Aboriginal Strategic Working Group (ASWG)

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

Aboriginal Strategic Working Group (ASWG)

Objective of ASWG

To provide advice and recommendations to CAMHS Executive to facilitate access, equity and culturally safe and responsive service delivery for Aboriginal clients, families and their communities.

Operation of Working Group

The Aboriginal Strategic Working Group will meet monthly but can call a special meeting if required, that will be informed by direct feedback from the Aboriginal Staff Reference Group, consumer and Aboriginal Community input, CAMHS data regarding Aboriginal service delivery contacts/outcomes, and CAMHS/WCHN Strategic directions. It will advocate for practical and effective prioritisation of the demonstrably higher needs of Aboriginal children and families (identified by CAMHS as a priority population) through the recommendations and information it prepares for CAMHS Executive.  Minutes of meetings will be tabled with CAMHS Executive and CAMHS Aboriginal Staff Reference Group.  

Therefore, the focus areas for the ASWG are outlined below.

Aboriginal Service Procedures and Guidelines

The ASWG has developed procedures, operational guidelines and an Aboriginal Mental Health Plan that ensures that Aboriginal people are given priority in accessing services, and to provide direction in the following areas:

The ASWG are the conduit for ensuring there is accountability for Aboriginal mental health and social and emotional wellbeing service provision by developing an Aboriginal Health Impact Statement for CAMHS services and communicating to CAMHS staff what is happening at National, State and WCHN levels.

Information dissemination

The ASWG disseminates relevant information throughout CAMHS including Aboriginal focussed resources and relevant research and information regarding Aboriginal services. The ASWG also has a role in providing information to external agencies about CAMHS and promoting the Division's services.

The organisation recognises the importance of Aboriginal cultural intelligence by ensuring Aboriginal representation on the following:

CAMHS Committees:

WCHN Committees:

SA Health Committees:

Interagency Collaboration

The ASWG helps to develop links with other agencies providing services to Aboriginal communities. A number of interagency projects and agreements have been undertaken since the formation of the group. The aim of this is to improve access for Aboriginal people to CAMHS services and provide more comprehensive and culturally relevant services.

Cultural and Clinical Services

The ASWG helps to develop cultural and clinical practice for Aboriginal clients and their families. Our non-Aboriginal colleagues are provided with mandatory cultural respect training and use the ASWG forum to discuss clinical service delivery that ensures it is culturally responsive to the needs of their clients.

The members of the ASWG can act as a contact for other WCHN staff and staff from other agencies who may be working with Aboriginal clients and their families.

Training and Development

The ASWG monitors compliance reports from the WCHN Centre for Education on mandatory Cultural Respect Training for CAMHS staff. This provides a benchmark for ASWG to ensure staff are demonstrating that they are being proactive regarding their cultural learning and development into clinical practise, which translates into an enhanced skill set repertoire.  

There is ASWG representation on the CAMHS Training and Development Committee to provide information to staff both on the committee and staff within CAMHS.

CAMHS is dedicated to ensuring that the most up to date Information Technology initiatives are available for use and that the relevant training in the use of these is available for staff.  


The ASWG have advocated for and continue to evaluate and monitor that Aboriginal mental health and social and emotional wellbeing values are prioritised within CAMHS, the WCHN and at a Statewide and National level.

For further information or to speak to someone about Aboriginal services provided by CAMHS please contact your regional Child Adolescent Mental Health Service or contact Lyn Jones, Principal Aboriginal Mental Health Lead on 8341 1222.

Nanko-walun Porlar Nomawi showcased by National Centre of Indigenous Excellence

Staff and clients of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service's (CAMHS's) highly regarded Nanko-walun Porlar Nomawi (NPN) (meaning 'wellbeing for children and families') program based at Murray Bridge travelled to Sydney in 2018 to take part in the Link iconNational Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) technology program.

The invitation to Sydney follows an NCIE-funded technology workshop using drones, coordinated by NPN Aboriginal counsellor Harley Hall.

The trip provided an opportunity to provide further exposure to science and technology to undertake such things as mapping country and other culturally specific activities.

NPN is a program designed to strengthen Aboriginal families, funded originally through a COAG agreement with the states around Closing the Gap.

It seeks to provide ways to build wellbeing, increase school attendance, prevent child protection notifications, and provide mental health interventions that are culturally acceptable to the local Aboriginal community.

Aboriginal workers are trained in narrative therapy approaches to developing more positive stories of clients' lives, and building cultural pride as an important element of social and emotional wellbeing.

The program works closely with schools, youth justice, Department for Child Protection, Headspace and other local agencies.

We have had significant success through the implementation of the “Strengthening Families” Model and are duplicating this across CAMHS statewide.

Last Modified: 25-10-2019 16:25:39
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