It is a natural part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture for family members to play a key role in raising children, especially when parents are not able to do so.

Kin Carers are often grandparents, an aunt or uncle, older sibling or any person who is raising a child though an informal arrangement with the child’s parents. While these arrangements may start through an informal family arrangement, they are often in place long-term.

The Federal Circuit Court of Australia acknowledges the advantages in enabling children to be cared for by Kin Carers, including sustaining family and community and cultural ties and practices.

However, Kin Carers can face challenges in being acknowledged as a parent and in dealing with day-to-day matters involving parental responsibility such as medical and educational decisions relating to the child they are kin caring.

Judge Josephine Willis AM is the resident judge for the Federal Circuit Court of Australia in Cairns and is Chair of the Court’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access to Justice and Reconciliation Action Plan Committee.

Judge Willis, together with the Court’s Indigenous Liaison Officer, Dennis Remedio and other committee members, identified the need to open a dialogue between the Court and people in the community who are Kin Carers.

“The Federal Circuit Court is incredibly supportive of improving access to justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and we are very pleased to host our first Justice for Kin Carers Family Law Forum in Cairns this Friday,” Judge Willis said.

“We extend an invitation to all Kin Carers, grandparents or other relatives who are involved in helping to raise a child to attend the forum this week. We are also keen to engage with services or organisations that provide support to Kin Carers,” Judge Willis added.

Chief Judge Will Alstergren said, “The Federal Circuit Court was the first court in Australia to enter into a Reconciliation Action Plan which was originally released in 2014 and updated in May this year. Throughout Australia, the Court is demonstrating its commitment to Reconciliation and improving access to justice and I congratulate Judge Willis, Dennis Remedio and everyone who has been involved in organising this forum.”

Forum details: Friday, 6 September 2019, 9am-2.30pm
Venue: Wuchopperen - 6 Moignard Street, Manoora

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