Moving over from Fremantle, Western Australia to Melbourne, I was given the opportunity to complete an Aurora internship with VACCHO throughout the semester. This internship began with my first day of placement spent attending a meeting of VACCHO’s Member’ organisations, which occur three times during the year. This gave me the opportunity to hear about current practices and issues being experienced within various Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCO’s) throughout the state of Victoria. Secondly, I attended the official commencement for the Victorian Aboriginal Treaty Advancement Commission at the Victorian State Parliament, which is a first of its kind in Australia.
My project whilst I was at VACCHO involved working as a part of the Policy and Advocacy team, looking at the interface between the National Insurance Disability Scheme (NDIS) and Child Protection services for Aboriginal children who have disabilities and are in out of home care , specifically looking at key responsibilities, accountabilities, assessment, funding, identifying gaps and developing key advocacy questions for further research.
This project proved to be both particularly interesting, as well as alarming for a couple of reasons; one being the number of Aboriginal children in care throughout the state and another being that I began to see the huge gaps that were present within the system for Aboriginal children in state care who have a disability.
I have really enjoyed and learnt a lot whilst on placement at VACCHO, throughout my placement I was exposed to various learning experiences and opportunities, which provided me with greater knowledge, motivation and inspiration when it comes to health policy and Indigenous affairs. All the staff at VACCHO made this experience really easy for me to both work and excel in; always friendly and willing to assist whenever needed, even with everyone’s busy work schedules. Staff from The Aurora Project were equally supportive and made accommodations for me throughout my internship when needed, which enabled me to be able to complete my internship.
I would highly recommend any student interested in participating in such a valuable experience get in contact with The Aurora Project.