The interface between child protection and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds: a culturally sensitive approach.

Mrs Tina Tasiopoulos1
1RMIT Master of Social Work student, Forest Hill , Australia

The presentation will focus on the research completed this year whilst on placement at a Melbourne child welfare agency as part of the Master of Social Work. The research consisted of a literature review and qualitative data collection from bilingual/multilingual practitioners working with vulnerable children,  young people and their families from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds including those at risk of Statutory Child Protection involvement.

The presenter will suggest ways child welfare agencies can be more culturally sensitive when working with vulnerable families. In addition, the presenter will address the following key findings when delivering services to CALD families:

– the impact of pre-settlement trauma prior to arrival in Australia.

– disadvantages associated with settlement (language barriers, discrimination, lack of familiarity of community services, isolation).

– the struggles and challenges to meet survival needs such as housing, employment, education, income, security of residency).

– fear of children acculturating and becoming disconnected from their own family’s culture.

– discrepancies between traditional cultural child rearing practices and non-traditional practices.

– how traditional cultural beliefs and practices may protect children.

– the challenges of working with interpreters.

The presentation will conclude with recommendations on ways child welfare agencies can promote culturally sensitive practice at the individual worker, organisation and policy levels.


Tina Tasiopoulos has over 30 years experience as a Counsellor. She has worked in Women’s Crisis Centres, Welfare Agencies and Educational Institutions. Currently she is employed as a School Counsellor at a Melbourne co-educational Catholic Secondary College. Tina has completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Psych and Soc.), Master of Arts and is presently completing a Master of Social Work at RMIT. As a second generation Greek Australian, her particular interest is in multicultural communities. She has recently completed a research project suggesting ways child welfare agencies can be more culturally sensitive when working with vulnerable families.

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