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Indigenous AOD Workers' Wellbeing Resources

Strengthening Aboriginal Family Functioning: What Works And Why?

Type: Information Sheet
Author: Walker, R., & Shepherd, C.
Publisher: Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse: Briefing
Year: 2008

There is widespread recognition that strong family relationships and good family functioning are essential for individual, family and community wellbeing, as well as providing long-term benefits to the broader society. This is also true in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, although there are considerable differences in the structures of Aboriginal families and their functional dynamics. Despite the importance of good functioning, there remains a limited evidence base to describe how well Aboriginal families function or the factors that support family harmony or contribute to dysfunction.

This paper discusses the contemporary evidence base, including case studies of programs that work, to provide insights into the protective effects and risks that influence different forms of functioning among Aboriginal families. This paper makes extensive use of state-specific research and data. There is a particular focus on recent data describing the level of functioning of Aboriginal families in Western Australia.

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