Aboriginal child health and Out of Home Care in Victoria



The Royal Children’s Hospital had over 7000 interactions with Aboriginal children and families last year.  Wadja Aboriginal Family Place Case Managers provide culturally sensitive support and care coordination to Aboriginal and Torres Strait families attending the hospital, either as inpatients or outpatients.

Wadja also runs a weekly Paediatric Clinic for Aboriginal Children.  A high proportion of children seen in the Wadja Paediatric Clinic have been through, or are currently in, the Out-of-home care (OOHC) system.

This Grand Round provides a breakdown of where Aboriginal Children are seen within RCH.  It also explores the health needs of Aboriginal Children in the Victorian OOHC System and highlights the links between involvement in OOHC and subsequent involvement in the Youth Justice system.  The Grand Round asks us to reflect on our role in meeting the health needs of Aboriginal children, as well asking us how we may be able to alter the trajectories of those who are in the OOHC system.



Dr Mick Creati is an Adolescent Physician / Paediatrician and has a long association with RCH, commencing his paediatric training here in 1990.  Mick worked as an Adolescent Physician at RCH for 23 years before becoming the Clinical Lead at the Wadja Aboriginal Family Place in 2022.

For the last 10 years Mick has also worked two days per week at the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, where around 50% of the children seen are in out-of-home care.  From 2011-2013, Mick was Head of Medical Services in the Parkville Youth Justice Precinct, where he provided health care to children in custody.

Mick is a strong advocate for the health needs of children in out-of-home care and those involved in the Youth Justice systems.  He has provided expert evidence at the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory as well as the Victorian Yoorook Justice Commission.  He hopes that this Grand Round can stimulate us all to reflect on our role in addressing the health and development needs of Aboriginal Children.

Selena White is an Iman woman from Central Queensland and Manager of the Wadja Aboriginal Family Place. Selena has over 30 years of experience working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health care. She currently leads support of RCH Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and families with cultural support and safety throughout clinic and ward consultations. Selena is a leader of advocacy in First Nations healthcare, including as the Co-Chair of the RCH’s Aboriginal Advisory Committee, the cross-community body that ensures the hospital provides equitable, culturally safe, and responsive health care, and promotes improved health outcomes for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families.

Sharon Mongta is an Aboriginal Case Manager at Wadja Aboriginal Family Place. Sharon’s background is Aboriginal and Maltese. Sharon’s Aboriginality is Monero from the Southern Monero Ngarigo country. Sharon has more than a decade of experience providing a culturally sensitive service for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people, including children. Sharon has held positions as a Social Worker focusing on First Nations Health at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Forensicare at Ravenhall Correctional Centre as their inaugural Aboriginal Health & Wellbeing Worker and at The Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA), a state-wide Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (ACCO) servicing children, young people, families, and community members. Sharon is deeply involved in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advocacy at RCH, including as a member of the Aboriginal Advisory Committee.


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