This week at Tweddle we will be celebrating Cultural Diversity Week and Close the Gap Day on Thursday 21st March.
In the 18 months to December 2018, Tweddle staff supported families from 87 different cultural backgrounds, with Indian and Vietnamese families second and third respectively following Australian families.
In data obtained from the 2016 ABS census, it is estimated that 0.9% of the Victorian resident population identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. Our Tweddle program data shows twenty-four (24) or 3.61% of persons identifying as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
Family is the cornerstone of many cultures. Connecting with culture can have a positive impact a parent and child’s sense of belonging and identity – and in turn, on mental health and overall well-being.
The national Close The Gap day is a reminder of the role that Tweddle, as a state-wide family health and early parenting support organisation, plays in helping to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal families, children and their communities and the vision for “Happy, healthy Aboriginal kids connected to their family, story and communities”.
In 2016, Tweddle embarked on a quality improvement project to propel the intentions of the ‘Statement of Commitment to Aboriginal Families, their communities and Aboriginal Peak Bodies’ into a plan for action that creates meaningful changes for Aboriginal children and their families.
Outcomes of this project include the development of a Reconciliation Action Plan, the commission of Aboriginal artwork now displayed in prominent locations at Tweddle, improved capacity of clinical staff to ‘ask the question’ to better identify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and the creation of an environment that is welcoming, inclusive and engaging for Aboriginal and Torres Strait people, including the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff.
Tweddle is also committed to continued partnerships with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations in order to continuously improve and build upon achievements towards reconciliation to date.
Tweddle’s vision for reconciliation is that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies and children in Victoria grow up in a secure environment, supported by strong families with a cultural connection to community.
Tweddle believes in working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as we develop an understanding about transgenerational trauma impacts in order to provide access to inclusive practice and programs in the best interest of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies, children and families.
As we recognise Close the Gap Day may we remember, its more than a day and that we all need to continue to work together to take real and measurable action to achieve Indigenous health equality.