Advancing partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations

Recently we were honoured to be involved in a webinar addressing an area close to our hearts: supporting families.

The webinar was the brainchild of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, Child Family Community Australia (AIFS CFCA) and SNAICC, and brought together Mercy Community and Kurbingui Youth and Family Development. We are very proud of the work we do together with our partners and colleagues at Kurbingui as part of Yadeni Tago, working toward achieving better outcomes for Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous families.

“Man, I can tell by the banter, laughter and happiness how great of a partnership this is! Started off on the right foot, well done guys! Great example of what we can aim for, it is possible.”

Collective hosts of the webinar were Glenda Jones-Terare, CEO and Kevin Maund, Program Manager of Kurbingui Youth and Family Development; Michael Currie from The Benevolent Society on behalf of SNAICC; and Kym Langill, Executive Director, Families and Young People (F&YP); Martin Greller, F&YP Regional Director, Brisbane & North Coast; and Julie Nelson, Program Manager, Yadeni Tago.

The objective was to discuss strategies for creating genuine partnerships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous organisations to support families. Our team shared their reflections of the recent and ongoing work they are committed to, as part of the SNAICC Genuine Partnerships training.

The webinar was a huge success:

  • An estimated 1,500 people attended the webinar, representing more than 580 organisations across Australia
  • 317 complete, post-webinar survey responses were received
  • 99% of survey respondents indicated that they intend to use the information presented during the webinar in some way
  • 94% of respondents rated the webinar as good (62%) or excellent (32%)

“The webinar was a great opportunity to take the time to reflect on the wonderful journey of this partnership over recent years. We were able to  reflect on the strengths, the challenges, the successes and the learnings—then share these with a broader Australian audience,” said Martin Greller from Mercy Community.

Glenda Jones-Terare, CEO of Kurbingui Youth and Family Development, said “It was a great opportunity to discuss our partnership journey to this point, the challenges faced and the outcomes from being committed to work through those challenges no matter how hard or confronting they may be.”

“This webinar was fantastic. Great presenters with really good information and capacity to share – as well as having sense of humour. More webinars on this topic would be great as it’s a really important subject and there is much to learn.”

“Really informative webinar, loved the principles and hearing an honest reflection on the partnership. Has invoked lots of thoughts on how to meaningfully engage with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.”

99% of survey respondents indicated that the webinar added to their knowledge about creating genuine partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, through either reinforcing their existing knowledge (40%) or building new knowledge (59%).

“Having a case study presented in this way was fabulous, thank you to all those who contributed, you have really demonstrated your passion and commitment in sharing your experiences this way!”

Really showed how connected the organisations presenting on the webinar are, and how they got to this point. Great tips on how my organisation can reach out to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services, to work on meaningful relationships, that will help the communities.

What is the Yadeni Tago Partnership?

The Indigenous Family and Child Connect and Family and Child Connect for the Greater Brisbane region is delivered through a partnership between Kurbingui Youth and Family Development and Mercy Community. This integrated model called “Yadeni Tago” is Turrbal language for “Advancing Together”.

The partnership acknowledges the strengths of both organisations and has been a great opportunity for all team members to share their skills and knowledge including working with families using various frameworks and approaches incorporated into culturally safe practices for Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous families. Yadeni Tago staff, comprising of Kurbingui and Mercy Community employees, work together in a fully integrated model. The overwhelming kindness, guidance, support and voice of the Elders and Community members cannot be understated in their contribution to the successes and progress of the program and its support services to families. Yadeni Tago staff are committed to maintain a culturally safe place for both staff and families they work with.

Mercy Community looks forward to being involved in more events like this in the future, and further developing the scope of the work we do with our wonderful partners at Kurbingui.


This webinar was designed for professionals working in, or interested in partnering with, Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) to produce better outcomes for children, families and communities.

All participant quotes have been sourced from the CFCA webinar report prepared by the Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

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