About the Aboriginal Case Management Policy


The Aboriginal Case Management Policy and associated Rules and Practice Guidance: Strengthening Aboriginal families, delivering outcomes for Aboriginal children and young people is an operational framework for all practitioners working with Aboriginal children, young people and families across the continuum of support in NSW, providing guidance to practitioners regarding core case management practices. It provides a framework for Aboriginal-led and culturally embedded case management practice to safeguard the best interests of Aboriginal children and young people.

The objective of the Aboriginal Case Management Policy is to:

Promote an integrated case management approach that is tailored to the needs of Aboriginal children and families, that commences early in the continuum of support and that empowers and supports families and communities to reduce the incidence of harm, addressing identified risks and thereby supporting Aboriginal children and young people to thrive.

The Aboriginal Case Management Policy and upcoming associated Rules and Practice Guidance aims to:

  • support practitioners to achieve and maintain stable and enduring relationships with an Aboriginal child or young person’s family and community, and meaningful connections to culture and Country, for lifelong wellbeing.
  • support practitioners to engage early with Aboriginal families and empower families to shape case planning, identifying tailored priorities and solutions to keep children safe and with their family and community. Family engagement is a family-centred and strengths-based approach to making decisions and maximising the positive outcomes for children and families.
  • encourage case management that provides holistic and flexible supports to Aboriginal children and families, building trust and promoting access to services.
  • ensure services delivered to Aboriginal children and families are culturally embedded and delivered by competent practitioners with an understanding of the families and communities they serve.
  • reduce the need for more intensive and intrusive services through effective engagement and case management, addressing risks early.
  • build the trust of Aboriginal children, families and communities in the child and family service system, by empowering Aboriginal communities to design, deliver and oversee local services, supports and processes, through Aboriginal community controlled mechanisms.

The Aboriginal Case Management Policy sits alongside the Permanency Case Management Policy, and provides specialised guidance on achieving safety, stability and cultural continuity for Aboriginal children and young people across early intervention and prevention supports, child protection services and the Permanency Support Program.

Aboriginal Case Management Policy

This policy takes effect from 19 October 2018 and provides a distinct case management policy alongside the Permanency Case Management Policy.


This policy applies to:

  • the case management of all Aboriginal families that seek targeted supports to strengthen their family, including addressing causes of risk
  • the case management of all Aboriginal children and young people and their families who are assessed as being at risk of significant harm by the statutory child protection system
  • empowering Aboriginal families and communities to take a significantly greater role in the decisions affecting Aboriginal children and families and the services provided to them

Policy Statement

Aboriginal case management supports Aboriginal families and communities to overcome key barriers and obstacles including poverty, intergenerational trauma, disadvantage and marginalisation that negatively impact on the development of Aboriginal children and young people.

It builds a supportive network of family, kin and community around Aboriginal children and young people, and provides a clear platform for Aboriginal families and communities to make decisions that impact on Aboriginal children within a culturally embedded framework.

Aboriginal case management upholds the rights of Aboriginal communities to determine the systems and supports that impact on their lives, and to make decisions about the safety, welfare and wellbeing of their children, families and communities. Aboriginal case management translates the Aboriginal Child Placement Principles, including the principles of prevention, partnership, placement, participation and connection, into everyday practice.


Aboriginal children and young people are:

  • safe at home with relatives and kin- they are supported to live with their own family and community to grow up strong and in culturally rich environments.
  • connected to their family, community, Country and culture -  connection and safety in culture is respected, valued and actively preserved and strengthened.
  • strong in identity -  they are supported to practice their culture openly and freely and to fulfil their cultural roles and responsibilities.
  • strong in spirituality – they are supported to experience the interconnectedness of the elements of their culture that underpins Aboriginal life.
  • supported to use their voice -  they are supported to participate in decisions and actions that affect them and their views are taken seriously.

Aboriginal families and communities are:

  • supported to strengthen their cultural systems of care and responsibility for Aboriginal children and young people
  • engaged in all decision making processes concerning their children
  • have access to information to inform their rights, and ensure accountability


DCJ engaged AbSec to write the Aboriginal Case Management Policy, incorporating the voices of Aboriginal people. The policy was informed by the views of Aboriginal people, agencies and communities through a statewide consultation process conducted by AbSec.

Printable version of the Aboriginal Case Management Policy (PDF, 828.0 KB)

Last updated:

13 Feb 2023

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We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future. 

Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.

You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.

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