A new program which aims to keep Aboriginal families together was launched by Waminda, the South Coast Women's Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation, on Friday, November 18.
The program, called Nabu (named after the local Aboriginal word for 'grandmother'), is the first evidence-based First Nations led family support service.
Nabu brings together cultural mentors, elders, family support workers, case managers and therapists to provide support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and their children who are at risk of harm or susceptible to going into foster care.
The Nabu program covers Wollongong to Nowra and down to Ulladulla.
Waminda's chief executive Faye Worner said the organisation's experience highlighted the need for a service led by Aboriginal people and community for Aboriginal families and children.
"Through a focus on self-determination and community empowerment, the Nabu program will support Aboriginal families and communities to collectively maintain shared responsibility for the care and wellbeing of their children."
Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward, who was also at the launch, said the program would help support vulnerable children.
"Nabu will be delivered by people who have a first-hand understanding of culture, tradition and the modern-day issues faced by the local Aboriginal community," Mr Ward said.
"It will provide improved support for families in the region in line with our Premier's priorities relating to vulnerable children."
The program will also assist families by teaching parenting skills and helping navigate government services while maintaining a close connection to culture and country.
The program will be continually evaluated by the University of Sydney and Charles Darwin University.
For more information on the program email firstname.lastname@example.org.