Organisation profile: RAATSICC

The Cape York/Gulf Remote Area Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Child Care (RAATSICC) Advisory Association has been walking alongside families in Far North Queensland for more than 30 years.

The community-controlled not-for-profit organisation’s services include a women’s shelter, domestic violence support, counselling services, redress support, and family care services for families and children in Aurukun, Kowanyama, Napranum and most recently Lockhart River.

One of the family care services on offer is the Family Wellbeing Service – or the Strong Active Family Engagement Service (SAFE) as the RAATSICC team call it.

RAATSICC Chief Executive Officer Francis Jose said the SAFE program supports First Nations families with children experiencing vulnerability, from before they are born up to 18 years of age.

“SAFE focuses on a family’s social, emotional, physical and spiritual strengths to develop healthy relationships and connections so parents can safely care for themselves and their children,” Mr Jose said.

“Families can access this free, practical and confidential support as often as they need.

“The program can help in so many different ways, including building parenting skills and kinship connections, helping with budgeting and household responsibilities, or referrals to specialist services like counselling or healthcare.

“Families everywhere can experience stress, and this service is about providing culturally appropriate services for our First Nations families.

“We’ve helped more than 300 families in the Far North through the SAFE program since we introduced it in 2018, which is a great result.”

Mr Jose shared the story of a Cape York family referred to the program and the benefits it had for the single parent and child.

“Our SAFE worker approached the family to yarn about some concerns we had and talk about the best way to move forward,” he said.

“It took several attempts to engage with the client, but after a series of visits our SAFE worker was able to get to know the family storyline and find out what was happening.

“We learnt both parents and the child had experienced recent trauma that was affecting the family unit.

“We worked with our client to provide better support for the child at home and school, and to access health and counselling services.

“Through SAFE’s advocacy and care for this family, the parent now has a better understanding of what support services are available and how to make better choices for the safety and wellbeing for the child and the family.

“The parent now has the confidence and courage to independently address any future worries or concerns because of their involvement with the SAFE program.”

Mr Jose said RAATSICC’s vision to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and their children was always front of mind for the dedicated staff.

“The team here are incredible and so passionate about helping families make positive choices and raise happy and healthy children,” he said.

“Being connected to culture is one of the best ways to support families, and it’s something we’re absolutely committed to here.

“We use a family-led decision-making process to make sure families can access the right mix of services designed for their specific needs.

“By walking together with families and children, we can all help to keep our kids safe, strong and connected to culture.”

For more information about RAATSICC and their Family Wellbeing Services in Aurukun, Kowanyama, Napranum, Weipa, Mapoon and Lockhart River, visit or call 1300 663 411.

For more information on accessing Family Wellbeing Services near you, use our service locator.