Some literature on engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities

Poster with pictures of Aboriginal fathers with the text Our kids need dads who are there for us.
(Image: Poster by Craig Hammond from the Family Action Centre)

The following are various articles I’ve come across relating to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities. Some of them directly relate to engagement and some are more general, addressing issues we should consider.

Articles available on the web.

Armstrong, S., Buckley, S., Lonsdale, M., Milgate, G., Bennetts Kneebone, L., Cook, L., & Skelton, F. (2012). Starting school: A strengths-based approach towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Camberwell, Vic: Australian Council for Educational Research. Available from

Barbour, W., & Schlesinger, C. (2012). Who’s the boss?: Post-colonialism, ecological research and conservation management on Australian Indigenous lands. Ecological Management and Restoration, 13(1), 36-41. Available from

Bennett, B., Zubrzycki, J., & Bacon, V. (2011). What Do We Know? The Experiences of Social Workers Working Alongside Aboriginal People. Australian Social Work, 64(1), 20-37. doi: 10.1080/0312407X.2010.511677 Available from

Bessarab, D., & Ng’andu, B. (2010). Yarning about yarning as a legitimate method in Indigenous research. International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies, 3(1), 37-50. Available from

Bowes, J., & Grace, R. (2014). Review of early childhood parenting, education and health intervention programs for Indigenous children and families in Australia. (Closing the Gap Clearinghouse issues papers no. 8). Canberra: Australian Institute of health and Welfare and Australian Institute of Family Studies. Available from

Cameron, J., Hodge, P., Howard, A., & Stuart, G. (2016). Navigating dilemmas of community development: Practitioner reflections on working with Aboriginal communities. Community Development, 47(4), 546-561. doi: 10.1080/15575330.2016.1205116 Available from

Cerreto, A. (2018). Ngaga-dji (hear me): Young voices creating change for justice. Melbourne: Koorie Youth Council. Available from

Crook, L., Longbottom, H., White, K., Thompson, M., Worner, F., & Board, W. (2012). Waminda: Mums and bubs program. Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal, 36(2), 17-19. Abstract available from

Durey, A., McEvoy, S., Swift-Otero, V., Taylor, K., Katzenellenbogen, J., & Bessarab, D. (2016). Improving healthcare for Aboriginal Australians through effective engagement between community and health services. BMC Health Services Research, 16, 224. doi: 10.1186/s12913-016-1497-0 Available from

Fogarty, W., Bulloch, H., McDonnell, S., & Davis, M. (2018). Deficit discourse and indigenous health: How narrative framings of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are reproduced in policy. Carlton South, VIC: Lowitja Institute. Available from

Fogarty, W., Lovell, M., Langenberg, J., & Heron, M.-J. (2018). Deficit discourse and strengths-based approaches: Changing the narrative of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing. Carlton South, VIC: Lowitja Institute. Available from

Foley, W., & Schubert, L. (2013). Applying strengths-based approaches to nutrition research and interventions in Australian Indigenous communities. Journal of Critical Dietetics, 1(3), 15-25. Available from

Gooda, M. (2010). Social justice and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples access to services. Paper presented at the QCOSS Regional Conference: Building a Better Future, Cairns.  Available from

Hodge, P., Cameron, J., Howard, A., & Stuart, G. (2014). Building resilience through relationships: Community development practice in inter-cultural settings. Paper presented at the Conference of the Aotearoa New Zealand International Development Studies Network, Dunedin, NZ.  Available from

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (1997). Bringing them home: Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families. Sydney: Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. Available from .

Jackson, S., Tan, P.-L., Mooney, C., Hoverman, S., & White, I. (2012). Principles and guidelines for good practice in Indigenous engagement in water planning. Journal of Hydrology, 474, 57-65. doi: https: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2011.12.015 Available from

Life Without Barriers. (2017). Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: The Life Without Barriers practice approach. Newcastle: Life Without Barriers. Available from

Lohoar, S., Butera, N., & Kennedy, E. (2014). Strengths of Australian Aboriginal cultural practices in family life and child rearing (CFCA no. 25). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies. Available from

McCauley, P. (2008). Wadeye: failed state as cultural triumph. Quadrant, 52(12), 24-35. Available from [Note, I do not agree with the sentiments in this paper.]

Moore, T., Arefdib, N., Deery, A., & West, S. (2017). The first thousand days: An evidence paper. Parkville, Vic.: Centre for Community Child Health, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Available from There is also a summary available at

Muir, S., & Dean, A. (2017). Evaluating the outcomes of programs for Indigenous families and communities. Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) Practice Resource(February), 1-12. Available from

NSW Department of Community Services (2009). Working with Aboriginal people and communities: A practice resource. Ashfield: NSW Department of Community Services. Available from

Parker, R. (2009). Program spotlight : Hey Dad! For Indigenous Dads, Uncles and Pops. Family Relationships Quarterly(12), 13-14. Available from

Price-Robertson, R., & McDonald, M. (2011). Working with Indigenous children, families, and communities: Lessons from practice (CAFCA practice sheet). Australian Institute of Family Studies.  Available from

Putt, J. (2013). Conducting research with Indigenous people and communities. Indigenous Justice Clearinghouse Research Briefs(15), 1-8. Available from

Ralph, S. (1997). Working with Aboriginal families: issues and guidelines for family and child counsellors. Family Matters(46), 46-50. Available from;res=IELAPA;dn=971010125

Ritte, R., Panozzo, S., Johnston, L., Agerholm, J., Kvernmo, S. E., Rowley, K., & Arabena, K. (2016). An Australian model of the first 1000 days: An Indigenous-led process to turn an international initiative into an early-life strategy benefiting Indigenous families. Global Health, Epidemiology & Genomics, 1, 1-10. doi: 10.1017/gheg.2016.7 Available from

Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care. (2010). Working and walking together: Supporting family relationship services to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and organisations. North Fitzroy, Vic.: Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care. Available from

Stewart, J., Lohoar, S., & Higgins, D. J. (2011). Effective practices for service delivery coordination in Indigenous communities. Canberra: Closing the Gap Clearinghouse. Available from

Stuart, G., May, C., & Hammond, C. (2015). Engaging Aboriginal fathers. Developing Practice: The Child, Youth and Family Work Journal(42), 4-17. Available from

Walker, B. W., Porter, D. J., & Marsh, I. (2012). Fixing the hole in Australia’s heartland: How government needs to work in remote Australia. Alice Springs: Desert Knowledge Australia. Available from

Walker, R., & Shepherd, C. (2008). Strengthening Aboriginal family functioning : What works and why? Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse Briefing, 7, 1-11. Available from

Wenitong, M. (2002). Indigenous male health. Canberra: Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health. Available from

Yu, P. (2012). The power of data in Aboriginal hands. Canberra: Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences. Available from

Articles from journals or other sources not on the web.

(Many are available online if you have access to a University Library)

Ah-Kee, M., & Tilbury, C. (1999). The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child placement principle is about self determination. Children Australia, 24(3), 4-8.

Campbell, D., & Hunt, J. E. (2013). Achieving broader benefits from Indigenous land use agreements: Community development in Central Australia. Community Development Journal, 48(2), 197-214. doi: 10.1093/cdj/bss036 Abstract available from

Collard, L., & Palmer, D. (1994). Ethical youth work with Nyungar families. Youth Issues Forum (Winter), 15-19. Abstract available from;res=IELAPA;dn=950201677

Cunneen, C., & Libesman, T. (2000). Postcolonial trauma: The contemporary removal of Indigenous children and young people from their families in Australia. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 35(2), 99-115. Abstract available from;res=IELAPA;dn=200011183

Edwards-Groves, C., & Murray, C. (2008). Enabling voice: Perceptions of schooling from rural Aboriginal youth at risk of entering the juvenile justice system. Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, The, 37, 165-177. Abstract available from;dn=594025791515571;res=IELIND

Geia, L. K., Hayes, B., & Usher, K. (2011). A strengths based approach to Australian Aboriginal childrearing practices is the answer to better outcomes in Aboriginal family and child health. Collegian: The Australian Journal of Nursing Practice, Scholarship and Research, 18(3), 99-100. Abstract available from

Haebich, A., & Delroy, A. (1999). The stolen generations: Separation of Aboriginal children from their families in Western Australia. Perth: Western Australian Museum.

Hammond, C., Fletcher, R., Lester, J., & Pascoe, S. (2003). Young Aboriginal Fathers Project. Newcastle: Family Action Centre, University of Newcastle.

Jones, P. (2005). Principles and approaches to facilitate community engagement: a case study. Public Administration Today(4), 9-14. [Focus on Aboriginal communities.] Abstract available from;res=IELAPA;dn=200509386

Koch, T., Mann, S., Kralik, D., & van Loon, A. M. (2005). Reflection: Look, think and act cycles in participatory action research. Journal of Research in Nursing, 10(3), 261-278. [Action research with Aboriginal people living with diabetes.]

Mackie, K., & Meacheam, D. (2016). Working on Country: A case study of unusual environmental program success. Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 23(2), 157-174. doi: 10.1080/14486563.2015.1094752 Abstract available from

McCalman, J., Baird, B., & Tsey, K. (2007). Indigenous men taking their rightful place – How one Aboriginal community is achieving results. Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal, 31(4), 8-9. Abstract available from;res=IELHEA;dn=955963997149455

O’Mullan, C. (2005). Engaging communities in promoting the health of their children. Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal, 29(1), 8-10. Abstract available from;res=IELHEA;dn=148466922198503

Palmer, D. (1995). “Getting shown a thing or two” The adoption of Nyungar cultural forms by youth workers. Youth Studies Australia, 14(4), 22-28. Abstract available from;res=IELAPA;dn=960606295

Robinson, G., Tyler, W., Jones, Y., Silburn, S., & Zubrick, S. R. (2012). Context, diversity and engagement: Early intervention with Australian Aboriginal families in urban and remote contexts. Children & Society, 26(5), 343-355. doi: 10.1111/j.1099-0860.2010.00353.x Abstract available from

Towney, L. M. (2005). The power of healing in the yarn: working with Aboriginal men. International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work(1), 39-43. Abstract available from;res=IELAPA;dn=200503926

I should emphasise that I don’t necessarily endorse all these papers. Please let me know of any other good ones.

If you liked this post please follow my blog, and you might like to look at:

  1. Engaging Aboriginal fathers
  2. Being an Aboriginal father in prison
  3. Workshops for Aboriginal fathers in prison – challenges
  4. Workshop for Aboriginal fathers in prison – what worked
  5. Workshop for Aboriginal fathers in prison – what we learnt
  6. Stan Grant “Racism is destroying the Australian Dream”

If you find any problems with the blog, (e.g., broken links or typos) I’d love to hear about them. You can either add a comment below or contact me via the Contact page.

About Graeme Stuart

Lecturer (Family Action Centre, Newcastle Uni), blogger (Sustaining Community), Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, environmentalist, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace, sustainability.
This entry was posted in Families & parenting, Good articles/links, Working with communities and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Some literature on engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities

  1. Pingback: Literature on engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities | Sustaining Community

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