Solid families: Strong in heart and spirit

This program, ‘Solid families: Strong in heart and spirit’, is to our knowledge the first parenting support program based on Aboriginal values. It was initiated by Aboriginal mothers in Roebourne, Western Australia, and developed through a cross-cultural partnership led by Anne Mead and Jasmine Mack.

Many ‘parenting programs’ used in Australia are built on white people’s thinking about how to be parents. We hope this program enables people from Aboriginal and other cultural backgrounds to build on what they know and value about families and children.

Roebourne 2013 149The program is based on a way of working known as narrative practice or narrative therapy and community work. Narrative practices centre people as experts on their own lives (Morgan, 2000; White, 2007). Families are assumed to have many skills, competencies, beliefs, values, commitments and abilities that will assist them to reduce the influence of problems in their lives and that can be brought to the fore to sustain and further enhance their lives. The ‘Solid Families Tree’ is our symbol and it underpins all parts of the program. This use of a tree metaphor is an adaptation of the Tree of Life narrative approach (Ncube 2006; Denborough, 2008).

Full details of this program, and stories from participants can be found in this publication compiled by Aunty Barbara Wingard ‘Stories of hope for Aboriginal children, families and culture – Narrative responses to a national crisis’

We have included on this website, the key parts of the ‘Solid families: Strong in heart and spirit’ program. You can read these via the links on the right hand side of this page. If you would like to know more about the program, please write to us.

Photograph by Jasmine Mack