Aboriginal communities

How we engage with Aboriginal children and young people, their families, and communities

The Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People and the Koori Advisory and Engagement team (KAE) lead and support the work of the Commission to address the over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in the child protection and out-of-home care and youth justice systems. Our work reflects the Commission’s strategic plan for 2019–22, in particular, the key outcome:

The experience of Aboriginal children and young people is free of systemic and institutional racism.

How we will know if we are achieving this?

  • the number, rate and proportion of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care are reduced
  • the number, rate and proportion of Aboriginal children and young people in the youth justice system, and particularly in youth justice custody, are reduced
  • there is improved compliance with legislated principles relating to Aboriginal children including the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle and the requirements for cultural support plans
  • organisations in and outside government act to address systemic and institutional racism
  • self-determination is a driving consideration in child protection policies and practices with regard to Aboriginal children.

Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People

Justin Mohamed leads the Commission’s engagement with Aboriginal communities as the Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People, having commenced this role in May 2018.

Justin Mohamed is a Gooreng Gooreng man from Bundaberg in Queensland with extensive experience working in Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and with Aboriginal communities across Australia. He is a respected advocate and expert on child rights and is committed to structural reforms to systems and processes that impair or impact the rights and interests of Aboriginal children and young people.

Justin worked with Victorian Aboriginal communities for 20 years before moving to Canberra to take on national positions as Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and Chief Executive Officer of Reconciliation Australia. Prior to his move to Canberra, Justin held positions based in the Shepparton region as the Inaugural Director of the Academy of Sport, Health and Education (ASHE), CEO and, later, Chairperson of Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative Ltd.

He chaired the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and chaired the Hume Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Council (RAJAC). Justin has held positions on multiple community, state and national working groups, committees and boards, and continues to be a Director of Supply Nation, Co-Chair Cricket Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee, and Board Member of the Kaiela Institute.

Koori Advisory and Engagement Team

The Koori Advisory and Engagement (KAE) team supports the Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People. The KAE team:

  • engages with Aboriginal children and young people, families, and communities about the issues that affect them
  • provides policy advice to government, advocating for practices that promote self-determination and cultural connection
  • conducts inquiries to improve services to Aboriginal children and young people
  • monitors conditions for Aboriginal children and young people in out-of-home care, the child protection system and the youth justice system.

The KAE team also plays a key leadership and advocacy role for the Commission in various representative capacities that influence or have the potential to impact the rights, opportunities and experiences of Aboriginal children and young people. This includes representation and participation in a range of key forums, working groups and strategic partnership arrangements including the Aboriginal Children’s Forum and the Aboriginal Justice Forum.