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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Re-designing Child Welfare Practice for Indigenous Children in Care: Privileging Social Futures over Administrative Status

Dr Tony McMahon.

In child protection, indicators for children in care typically describe the status of children in regard to reason for coming into care, length of time in care, racial identity and whether specific bureaucratic milestones have been reached. This approach serves administrative decision-making and not the needs of Indigenous children.

An alternative process for designing social futures for Indigenous children in care considers their well-being in terms of who they are, where they come from and where they want to go rather than their status as cases. This paper attempts to define well-being indicators for Indigenous children in care that emphasise health, educational, social, cultural, spiritual, housing and economic futures. These futures will be set within Indigenous frameworks of family, social relations, health and work.


Dr Tony McMahon  (Australia)
Head of School
School of Social Work and Community Welfare
James Cook University

  • Indigenous
  • Social futures
  • Well-being

(30 min Conference Paper, English)