Improving the Social and Emotional Wellbeing of First Nations Children

The Healing Foundation and Emerging Minds have developed a series of new resources to improve social and emotional wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The resources will help families and children reconnect to cultures, while weaving back in the knowledge and protective factors that have kept First Nations peoples healthy and strong for more than 60,000 years.

An e-learning module, factsheets, and an animation are part of the package that will be released today to help elevate the significance of National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day.

The Healing Foundation CEO Fiona Cornforth said the culturally appropriate training materials will give service providers resources for understanding the impacts of intergenerational trauma and reframing the narrative towards intergenerational healing.

“Connections for our children and young people are important throughout their developmental stages and play a vital role in their social and emotional wellbeing,” Ms Cornforth said.

“Our children develop strong and healthy when they are supported well but some service providers are still completely unaware of the impact of trauma on the development of our children. Being aware supports a focus on family-led healing.

“The impact of colonisation resulted in disconnection from our kinship, country, and spiritual and cultural practices for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“Now is the time to create spaces and systems that support intergenerational healing by acknowledging historical trauma and its ongoing impact on subsequent generations of families.”

This is the first time a holistic approach has brought together best practice child development theory and First Nations knowledge systems to better understand parenting through a trauma-aware, healing-informed lens.

Emerging Minds Director Brad Morgan said he is excited by the resources developed with The Healing Foundation.

“These resources utilise the wisdom and strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parenting practices and reframe this knowledge into a foundation for healing,” Mr Morgan said.

“This foundation is underpinned by a two-way learning model, combining longstanding philosophies of connectedness and social and emotional wellbeing knowledge, with concepts such as attachment, child development, and trauma-aware, healing-informed practice.

“It is only through a self-determined, cultural lens that the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s social and emotional wellbeing can be met.

“Emerging Minds is proud to have partnered with The Healing Foundation in this work and is grateful to knowledge holders of the space for their generosity in sharing wisdom, time, and knowledge for what we know will ensure greater impact for families we walk alongside.”

This narrative reframe is already helping to improve social and emotional wellbeing for children and young people aged 0 – 18 years old.

The social and emotional wellbeing animation can be viewed here:

The e-learning training package can be viewed here:

The factsheets can be viewed here:

For more information on Emerging Minds, visit the website:

The Healing Foundation is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that partners with communities to address trauma caused by the widespread and deliberate disruption of populations, cultures, and languages over 230 years. This includes specific actions like the forced removal of children from their families.  

Emerging Minds develops mental health policy, services, interventions, training, programs, and resources in response to the needs of professionals, children, and their families. The organisation leads the National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health. For more than 20 years, Emerging Minds has been dedicated to advancing the mental health and emotional wellbeing of Australian infants, children, adolescents, and their families.


Media contacts:

Healing Foundation, Ben O’Halloran, 0474 499 911 or

Emerging Minds, Ben Smeaton, 0488 940 010 or

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