About the project

Purpose, benefits, concept and six project streams

First Nations ways of knowing, being and doing have fostered physical, social, and emotional wellbeing for millennia. However, the ongoing impacts of colonisation, violence and discrimination have led to and reinforce harmful, compounding cycles of intergenerational trauma.

In a national survey of primary maternity care providers, 98% reported that trauma is having a significant impact on First Nations parents.

Yet almost half (43%) were not satisfied with the ability of their service to address this. Currently, there is no applied evidence for how to safely and effectively identify and support First Nations parents experiencing complex trauma. Any program in this space must ensure its benefits outweigh harms.

This project, in accordance with key recommendations from numerous national and international priorities, aims to address this critical health system need. It will deliver infrastructure for a shift in health policy and practice. Through this, it will help to improve the health and wellbeing of First Nations parents and their babies in the formative first 2000 days.


Tree with six Ganma concepts written

Clean air, win, sun and rain

Informed by rigorous research and practice evidence, including

  • Healing the Past by Nurturing the Future and Birthing on Noongar Boodjar, Baggarrook
  • Redesigning maternal, newborn and child health services for the best start in life for First Nations families NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence

Rich earth/Country

Grounded in and drawing from Indigenous knowledges and worldviews

Six project streams

Fresh leaves and new growth

1. Resource repository/library for using and sharing

  • For mothers, fathers and communities, including story-telling and plain language resources
  • For workers and service organisations

2. Structured evidence-based support framework

  • Services assessing availability and accessibility of support

3. Integrated culturally validated assessment tools

  • Within the accessible ‘Baby Coming You Ready?’ program

Supportive branches

4. Workforce development resources to build capacity for safe skillful care

  • Flexible online and face-to-face training (Healing Foundation, Blue Knot Foundation, Emerging Minds, BCYR/COPE)
  • Mentoring (We Al-li Pty Ltd, CATSINAM)
  • Sensitive enquiry for assessment

Sturdy trunk

5. Culturally-safe trauma-integrated continuity-of-care implementation support

  • Structured protocols and core outcome sets for implementation and evaluation.

Strong roots

6. Supporting Aboriginal Families to Stay Together from the START (SAFeST START)

  • Advocacy under the SNAICC Family Matters program to prevent removal of children
  • Building workforce expertise to support parents experiencing violence, substance use or other social and emotionally complex situations, including a 'wise counsel’ model of care