- Roadmap for reform
- Universal Health and Education
- Targeted Health and Human Services
- Child Safe Environments
- Adults Supporting Kids (ASK)
- CFSS Family Support Services
- CFSS Intensive Family Services
- Out-of-home care prevention programs
- Programs to prevent intergenerational trauma
- Community Services Support Program - Family Support and Early Intervention
- Early Intervention Research Directorate
Child Wellbeing Program Service Model
This document provides an overview of the Child Wellbeing Program and the context of where it sits within the Child and Family Support System. It articulates the scope of the program, key values and principles, objectives, and outcomes. The service delivery practices, outputs and service elements are described, and the service flow is represented.
This document should be read in conjunction with Department of Human Services and Safer Family Services policy and practice guides.
Child and Family Support System
During 2018-2019 the SA Government undertook an extensive process of research and co-design aimed at drawing on evidence-informed knowledge and practice. This was combined with lived and professional experience, to design the Child and Family Support System (CFSS) to ensure that South Australia delivers the best possible outcomes for children and families. The remit of the CFSS is to work with families to support them to keep their children safe and well at home in family, community, and culture.
CFSS has a focus on the following four priority population groups:
- Young parents (where mothers are aged under 23 years and fathers aged under 25 years)
- Families of infants deemed to be at high risk in their first 1000 days
- Aboriginal families with multiple and complex needs
- Young people experiencing vulnerability and at risk of having children who may go on to enter the child protection system.
The Department of Human Services has lead responsibility for implementing the CFSS, in which Safer Family Services plays a key part.
Safer Family Services (SFS) provides help and support to children and their families at risk of harm, neglect, and/or domestic and family violence. SFS purposefully and assertively intervenes to disrupt the patterns of intergenerational trauma and increase the number of children able to be safely cared for in their homes, and to remain connected to culture and community. This is particularly relevant for children and families with multiple and complex needs.
Child Wellbeing Program
The Child Wellbeing Program (CWP) is a program within Safer Family Services (SFS) which plays a critical role in the delivery of the CFSS. The Child Wellbeing Program provides direct services to school aged children and young people, and their families, who are enrolled with a South Australian Public education site and are experiencing complex issues and who may otherwise be at risk of adverse outcomes.
The Child Wellbeing Program works collaboratively with other SFS services, Department for Education (DfE) including education sites and education support services, and government and non-government partners to improve the social, health, and wellbeing outcomes for children and young people in South Australia.
Children are safe and well at home, in family, community, and culture. They are connected to supports within their local regions that will enhance their development and strengthen the adult-child caregiving relationship.
CWP are underpinned by the values that are guided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and consistent with Safer Family Services Case Management Framework (2020).
- All children have the tight to grow up in an environment free from neglect and abuse. Their best interests are paramount in all decisions affecting them.
- Improving the safety and wellbeing of the children is a national priority.
- The safety and wellbeing of children is primarily the responsibility of their families, who should be supported by their communities and governments.
- Australian society values, supports and works in partnership with parents, families, and others in fulfilling their caring responsibilities for children.
- Children and their families have the right to participate in decisions affecting them.
- Policies and interventions are evidence informed.
- Children’s rights are upheld by systems and institutions.
Many services and programs including CWP are playing a critical role in supporting families to keep children safe and well at home and reduce the need for children to be removed from their families to ensure their safety.
CWP is guided by the principles of the Case Management Framework that works with the family, whilst keeping a Child-Centred approach. This is done through:
- Proactive engagement
- Strengths based approach
- Logical processes
- Partnership with children, families and partnering agencies
- Systemic links to broaden referral pathways
- Outcomes driven to achieve family’s goals
- Culturally responsive in an inclusive approach that respect culture and see culture as a strength
- Holistic processes to encompass all factors to the child and family’s safety and wellbeing
- Dynamic to be open to change and responsive to needs as they arise
The CFSS is made up of a spectrum of services that are able to respond to different degrees of complexity and the safety concerns for children and families. These services work directly with families to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Services providers are governed by their own core principles informing service operation, which spans from community capacity building through to intensive case management.
The Roadmap for reforming the Child and Family Support System 2021-2023 outlines key steps that the Department of Human Services is taking to improve early intervention services for children and families with complex needs. These steps are in line with the whole-of-government strategy, Safe and well: Supporting families and protecting children.
CWP will also be guided by the Aboriginal Co-Design Principles (PDF 312.7 KB) identified throughout the CFSS Co-Design Process undertaken in 2019. These principles include:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are front and centre
- Services are family-focused
- Cultural strengths are reflected
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s right to self-determination is reflected
- The truth of our shared histories, the hurts, the strengths, and the healing are acknowledged and reflected.
Aboriginal Cultural Practice
The over representation of Aboriginal children and families in contact with the statutory child protection system is well documented. We see and acknowledge that Aboriginal people experience disproportionate levels of disadvantage and hardship, along with continued negative impacts from historical events and policies. The Child Wellbeing Program recognises the ongoing impact that colonisation, dispossession of land, and loss of culture has had on community. The Child Wellbeing Program is committed to developing an appropriate service response for Aboriginal children and families and sees culture as a protective factor.
The Child Wellbeing Program is committed to working restoratively, building on the resilience and strengths of Aboriginal people, working with, listening to, hearing, and acknowledging cultural identity, and translating this into practice.
Engaging with families with multiple and complex needs, in the best interest of the children and young people, often means working within an environment that is dominated by fear and anxiety due to the power imbalances. Assertive engagement and relationship-based case management are the approaches used to deliver support. For Aboriginal children and families, support and engagement to keep children safe and well is done in culturally responsive ways.
In addition, by keeping children at the centre of our involvement, we will work collaboratively with adult focused services that values Aboriginal family-led decision-making and self determination to ensure that, when they are supporting adults in families, they are mindful of children’s needs (as a priority) to be safely cared for within that family. This ensures that, when we are supporting adults in families, we are contributing to building a trauma responsive and healing system for everyone.
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The Child Wellbeing Program works with children, young people and their families who are enrolled with DfE sites and are experiencing complex issues and/or are at risk of adverse outcomes that may result in engagement with Department for Child Protection (DCP). The Child Wellbeing Program works in situations where there are matters that present a child protection concerns with a focus on improving the safety and wellbeing of the child and their family. To achieve this, the Child Wellbeing Program works in partnership with families, public education sites, education support services, child protection services and health services.
The Child Wellbeing Program aims to, wherever possible, work in ways that respond directly to the needs of vulnerable children, young people and families, at the same time build the ongoing capacity of the school to respond to the needs of other vulnerable children and young people in the school community.
The Child Wellbeing Program provides a state-wide response with a focus on the 320 most disadvantaged public education school sites.
- Assertively engaging through relationship-base practice with children and families to provide high quality and appropriately tailored intervention services, that attend to their safety and wellbeing, and improve health and developmental outcomes
- Children and families are connected to responsive services to meet their needs in a timely manner
- Cultural responsiveness reflected in partnership approaches in all engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants and families, which includes the principle of family-led decision making, and the right self-determination
- Cultural and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) families will be supported in ways that acknowledges and recognises cultural diversity and practices
- Deliver services with openness, honesty, and transparency with families, and have difficult and challenging conversations about child protection risks
- Using the Information Sharing Guidelines to ensure that information is appropriately shared where there is a threat to the safety and wellbeing of children and families
- The Children & Young Person’s Safety Act (2017) and other relevant legislation will be complied with and utilised where appropriate
These outcomes should be read in conjunction with the CFSS Outcomes Hierarchy that provides a shared view of outcomes for all services in their efforts to ensure children are safe and well at home in family, community and culture.
Child and Family Outcomes
Children and families:
- obtain appropriate nutrition, housing, accommodation and financial stability to support children and families to stay safe and well at home
- are free from family violence, abuse and neglect, drug, and alcohol abuse, physical, sexual or emotional abuse, and harsh parental discipline
- are supported to address their disability and mental health needs.
Children and families:
- are supported to address their emotional wellbeing and reduce parenting stress
- have increased school attendance to create appropriate learning environments and connect to educational supports
- are supported to enhance child development, child behaviours, child health and mental health.
Children and families improve their relationships and parenting capacity, and learn different ways of problem solving, communication patterns, behaviour management and parenting styles, to support family relationships.
Capability to influence decisions
Children and families:
- are empowered to achieve personal capacity to affect change
- develop self-efficacy, self-advocacy, and capacity to make decisions
- achieve self-determination.
Capability to achieve potential
Children and families develop insight into their strengths and resilience, to empower and encourage engagement with training, education, and employment, and develop personal skills.
Access to community supports
Children and families:
- seek help and support when needed
- engage with support services, and extended family supports.
Connection to culture
Children and families:
- see strength in their cultural, linguistic diversity, and spiritual wellbeing
- participate in cultural activities
- take time to connect and spend time on country
- seek support from cultural groups.
- Staff become stronger allies to Aboriginal people, ensuring self-reflection, practicing cultural humility and respect, and building their cultural fitness and responsiveness
- Partnership is developed and maintained with services that support the needs of the client group
- Children, young people, and their families are diverted from the Department for Child Protection system for intervention under the Child and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 (PDF 789KB), and in turn reducing the trajectory of entering other statutory systems.
- Focus on improving safety and family functioning.
- Align outcome-focused efforts across the system, working for children, young people, and parents/caregivers to be safe and well in families.
- Influencing decisions and reaching potential through self-determination.
- Connect and support in communities and through culture.
The Child Wellbeing Program will engage with children, young people and their families presenting with a high level of complexity, maintaining a focus on the reduction and elimination of children protection risk and vulnerability.
The Child Wellbeing Program will undertake comprehensive assessments and case management support for families, and seek to connect families to appropriate services in their community to address the child protection risks and support children and young people to thrive within their families, connected to culture and community.
- Children and young people enrolled in an education setting.
- Children, young people, and their families where there are child protection risks.
- Children and young people demonstrating the presence of individual, family, and environmental risk factors.
- Children and young people identified in Multi Agency Protection Service (MAPS) summary information.
- Children and young people identified by CFSS Pathways Service.
- Siblings of the children and young people in scope.
- Interagency investigations and responses, whether as lead agency (as nominated by DCP) or party to strategic discussions and assessment, as outlined in the Interagency Code of Practice.
Out of scope
- The direct investigative process of child protection matters that require DCP, CPS and SAPOL criminal and forensic assessments.
- Children and families whereby complexity and vulnerability exist in absence of child protection risks.
Child Wellbeing Program operates across South Australia in metropolitan, regional, and remote locations.
Child Wellbeing Practitioners will deliver across the following service domains:
- Working directly with children, young people and their families.
- Consultation, assessment, and case management.
- Developing and supporting community connections and service accessibility to support vulnerable children and families.
Child Wellbeing Practitioners offer the following service elements that incorporates Assertive Engagement and Case Management providing:
Direct Case Work
Direct case work includes, but is not limited to, the following elements:
- Engage in and develop professional helping relationships with infants, siblings, their families, and communities.
- Home visiting to engage and support infants and their families.
- Ensure practice is informed by cultural consultation, and interpreters are used as required when working with culturally and linguistically diverse families.
- Support to engage with internal and external services.
- Delivery of agreed case planning that involves the family-led decision making.
- Co-working with other service providers including case conferencing, joint meetings, and home visiting.
Indirect Case Work
Indirect case work includes, but is not limited to, the following elements:
- Consultations with service providers regarding infants, children, young people, and their families.
- Sharing information of at-risk situations to keep infants, children, and young people safe.
- Cultural consultations to ensure cultural safety in families and communities.
- Providing support, information, and resources, in response to the needs of families.
- Attending meetings directly related to the needs of families.
SFS recognises that the skills, resources, and knowledge required to respond appropriately to the complex issues related to the care and protection of infants, children, and young people are beyond the capacity of a single agency. The Child Wellbeing Program works in partnership and engages proactively with children, young people, and families, across the CFSS and with other relevant key stakeholders to support integrated responses to address the needs of children and their families. These partnerships form the basis for the successful operations of the program.
The Child Wellbeing Program will engage proactively and collaboratively with Department for Education (DfE) (including Education Support Services), Department for Child Protection (DCP), families, and other relevant external service providers to support integrated responses to the needs of families.
Primary partners Internal to SFS
- Aboriginal Practice Team
- Safe Start (formerly CFARN)
- Child and Family Safety Network (CFSN), including external network partners
- Clinical Practice team
- Community Development Coordinator Program
- Family Practitioner Program
- Metropolitan Aboriginal Youth and Family Services (MAYFS)
- Multi Agency Protection Service (MAPS)
- Pathways Service
- Strong Start
Primary partners External to SFS
- Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs)
- Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs)
- Department for Child Protection (DCP)
- Department for Education (DfE)
- SA Health
- South Australian Housing Authority (SAHA)
- Non-Government Organisations (NGO)
- SA Police (SAPOL)
- Communication that is clear, regular, timely, and relevant, underpins quality partnership
- Appropriate information sharing can contribute to keeping children safe
- Respect for each other and the strengths and contributions that all parties bring to the work
- Clarity around the roles and responsibilities supports improved outcomes
- Shared commitment to the best interests of the child
- Valuing the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
- Self-determination and the values that underpin the right to one’s own economic, social, and cultural developments
- Valuing diversity and celebrating difference
- Perseverance in finding solutions to issues as they arise
- Transparency about organisational agendas and future intentions
- Equality between agencies delivering services.
Family Practitioners utilise a variety of practice approaches to understand and support families’ cultural, social, and environmental circumstances. Determinations about which approaches to apply are informed by the presenting needs of the family and what will best support and increase the safety and wellbeing of the child/ren.
Culturally Inclusive Practice
A methodology which actively acknowledges the historical context and specificity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. The practitioner will incorporate the following in their practice:
- Culture is acknowledged as a strength, that will be supported for the development of social, economic, and cultural pathways towards individual and community safety and wellbeing.
- Strength based approaches that value and respect cultural identity and support the achievements of culturally responsive and responsible outcomes.
- Engage with active supports for the development and maintenance of meaningful connections with culture and community.
- Actively support and engage with the development of an individual sense of cultural identity and contribution to the vibrancy and diversity of communities and celebrated these.
- Practitioners that actively reflect upon their own culture to ensure that cultural difference is appreciated and respected, guarding against the attitude that ones’ own behaviours, beliefs and actions are the norm to which other people must conform.
- A recognition of our individual and collective responsibility to prevent racially prejudicial attitudes, beliefs, behaviours, or practices in our service delivery
Assertive engagement takes a proactive approach to delivering support. It challenges the idea that a client is always responsible for engaging with services and instead requires that the practitioner persistently and consistently approach the client to build a relationship, to engage them in critical conversations around risk, capacity and functioning, and to continue to offer support.
Case management response
Case management practice will be guided by the SFS Case Management Framework (2020). Case management takes a holistic view of an individual’s needs and uses communication and available resources to promote quality outcomes. Case management is a collaborative way of working with clients and includes assessment, case planning, implementation of the case plan, monitoring and evaluation, transition or exit.
Attachment theory outlines the importance of the parent-child relationship in determining a child’s future functioning and wellbeing. Attachment influences children’s interactions with other children, their sense of security about exploring the world, their resilience to stress, their ability to regulate emotions, their capacity to have a coherent story that makes sense of their lives, and their ability to create meaningful interpersonal relationships.
A strengths-based framework grounded in recognising, understanding, and responding to the impact of trauma, emphasising physical, psychological, and emotional safety, and creating opportunities for clients to rebuild a sense of control and empowerment.
Restorative practice is a strengths-based practice that seeks to repair relationships that have been damaged. It empowers families to influence and participate in decision making that will produce positive outcomes for their children. Restorative practice engages families and enables change by working with families rather than services doing to them, or for them.
An approach to working with people that acknowledges and identifies the strengths and abilities that they come to the helping relationships with, and then works to build on these strengths to address the issues that people face.
Therapeutic team approach
A relationship-based model which brings together the people working with a child or young person as part of a team providing wrap around support. The approach is assertive in its engagement, intensive in the level of contact with the child or young person, long term, mobile and flexible in the delivery of support.
Safety first approach
A safety first approach is applied where families are experiencing domestic or family violence. Within this approach, women and children’s emotional and physical safety is understood to be a priority and is embedded within all service delivery responses. There is a focus on understanding risk, increasing immediate and longer-term safety, and working in ways which seek to partner with the protective parent and intervene in ways that place responsibility for the violence and its impact with the perpetrator. A safety-first response is enacted in partnership with children and their mothers or caregivers, recognising the importance of listening to what safety means for each individual and the family as a whole.
A future-focused, goal orientated approach to working with people that highlights the importance of searching for solutions rather than focusing on problems.
Referrals come to Child Wellbeing Program via CFSS Pathways Service only.
Current approved referrers include DCP, DfE and MAPS. These approved referrers will be reviewed as Safe and Well reform activities progress.
Referral/Allocation process within CWP
Child Wellbeing Practitioner Flow Chart
Appendix A: Child Wellbeing Program Logic
- 7 Aboriginal Practitioners
- Family Violence Focus Practitioner x 2 FTE (sitting in Triage – currently vacant)
- 59.3 FTE across all regions
- 8 SFS Leaders (AHP3)
The Child Wellbeing Program grows and develops by respecting the lived experiences of the vulnerable families that we support, that being their parenting experiences and their experiences of being parented. This includes the parenting needs of our LBGTQIA community.
- Aboriginal and CALD team members
- Aboriginal and CALD family and community members
- Department for Child Protection (DCP)
- Education Department Services (Child Protection Services)
- Family Safety Meetings
- Child & Family Safety Network (CFSN) meetings
- Team Around the Child meetings
- Relational, reflective, trauma-informed and culturally responsive.
- Triage – initial assessment & allocation
- Desktop assessments
- Safety planning & conversations
- NDIS support
- “Re-homing” referrals - making suggestions/phoning around
- Warm referrals
- Assertive engagement
- Home visits
- Attend appointments & consultations - school (CWP)
- Meet with child at school/after-school consultation (with parental consent)
- Case conferencing – with & without families. Case Plan
- Partnership work
- Strategy discussions (DCP and other agencies)
- Enable capacity building
- Education sites/other agencies) “hold support”
- With families
- With teenagers (feed themselves, access services, budgeting, supports available to them)
- Practice processes: clinical supervision, cultural supervision, group supervision (complex case-review), workload meetings, self-determination (families always have some choice), relational case management
- Partnership work
- School-aged children and families at risk.
- Voluntary and involuntary clients (families)
- School age children are the primary client.
- Shared decision-making with family (differing but always some)
- Invite participation in the case management process – Assessment/ case planning/ case review etc.
- Team Around the Child meetings
- Child voice – where possible
Outcomes - Short (0–3 months)
- Increased trust (worker-client)
- Increased immediate safety
- Engages with worker/service (‘accept’ support)
- Basic needs met
- Increased life-skills
- Increased trust – family-worker
- Recognition that some things are not as good as they could be
- Increased understanding of the importance of the parent-child relationship in the development of the child
- Parents able to identify child needs
- Identify own strengths
- Improved life skills
- Increased parenting knowledge
- Increased parenting understanding
- Increased capacity to understand the importance of safer environments
- Communication channels are open and positive
- Child protection concerns assessed
- Responses delivered within a holistic case plan approach
- Appropriate referrals made to other service providers
- Increased family stability
- Work collaboratively with CFSN partners and handover cases where needed
- Increased stakeholder collaboration regarding decision making and sharing of risk
- Agencies have up to date information
- Agencies have access to consultation
Outcomes - Medium (3–6 months)
- Developmental needs of family identified
- Decreased anxiety of family
- Families feel supported
- Parent/caregiver has increased awareness of concerns/behaviours
- Increased parenting confidence
- Families linked in with other services/support systems
- Increased willingness of other agencies to engage with family
- Shared (inter-agency understanding of purpose and intent of work)
- Increased sharing of risk
- Other agencies follow through on intended actions
- Other agencies step-in and take lead
- Improved relationship with client
- Maintain good relationships with mother/family
- Able to have difficult conversations
- Improved communication channels
- Able to receive information regarding concerns
- Earlier notification regarding concerns
- Increased capacity of the stakeholder network to identify and respond to child protection concerns within their client base
- Increased skills and capacity of stakeholder network
Outcomes - Long (6–12 months)
- Sustained safety of child/ren over time
- Parenting issues identified
- Increased stabilities – better routines
- More effective response by parents to child/ren’s behaviours
- Improved support networks
- Family demonstrates ‘good enough parenting’
- Parents more able to respond effectively to child / to stressors
- Intergenerational cycles interrupted and or broken
- System more responsive to at risk children
- Reduced misdiagnosis
- Child/ren does not have avoidable developmental delay (DD)
- Child/ren with DD connected with early intervention allied health service
- Child/ren with disability connected with NDIS
- Child/ren adequately safe
- Increased safety of child/ren maintained over time
- Stakeholder network responds to child safety and protection concerns
- Earlier engagement of families into services who may not have been otherwise engaged
Appendix B: Acronyms
Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation
Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
Child Abuse Report Line
Culturally and Linguistically Diverse
Safe Start (formerly CFARN)
Child and Family Safety Network
Child and Family Support System
Child Protection Services
Department for Child Protection
Department for Education
Department of Human Services
Early Intervention Research Directorate
Early Years Team
High Risk Infant
Multi-Agency Protection Service
South Australia Police
Safer Family Services
Appendix C: Glossary
The term Aboriginal is respectfully used to refer to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout this document.
Cultural capability is a preferred term over ‘cultural competence’. Cultural capability does not suggest a competence in a culture other than one’s own but rather sets a standard for the extent of one’s ability to work from a cultural lens, incorporating the active practices of cultural awareness, cultural fitness and cultural humility, while actively implementing anti-racist practices.
A practice of applying oneself to the daily exercise of self-reflection, personal engagement, and active learning as they relate to reconciliation, cultural safety, white privilege, and valuing diversity.
The reflective practice of acknowledging that the client is the expert in their own lives. This is done through the awareness of one’s own values, beliefs and privilege while also being actively aware of other cultures historical realties such as legacies of violence, oppression, discrimination, and trauma. Those who practice cultural humility view their clients as capable and work to understand their worldview encouraging a self-based process of lifelong learning.
Aims to directly address the effects of colonialism by focusing on the level of cultural safety felt by an individual when interacting with practitioners. Both an individual’s identity and culture are considered, and cultural safety needs to be applied at both the individual, environmental and organisational level.
Information Sharing Guidelines
The Information Sharing Guidelines for Promoting Safety and Wellbeing (ISG) provide a mechanism for information sharing when it is believed a person is at risk of harm (from others or as a result of their own actions) and adverse outcomes can be expected unless appropriate services are provided.
A term commonly associated with traumas inflicted on members of the Stolen Generations that is then passed down to future generations.
A practitioner is a worker who possess professional expertise, is skilled in the area of work and holds personal qualities that are suitable to the service delivery and clientele of the agency. The practitioner can undertake a variety of tasks within their duties, inclusive of undertaking information gathering, conducting comprehensive assessments, building relationships with families and support networks, developing robust case plans and working in.
Refer State Authority
Government departments and local councils are considered state authorities, as are any NGOs that receive funding from state or local government to provide services to young people and their families. If DCP determines that it is more appropriate for a state authority to respond to a child protection report, the report may be referred to that authority for a response. This must be done in agreement with the authority. Child protection notifications screened in as warranting an urgent (24hr) response cannot be referred.
Refers to the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to hold choice and decision-making powers that lead to the active determination of their own social, political, economic, and cultural interests.
Occurs when grief and loss from one generation is passed to future generations
A joint home visit between DCP and SFS practitioners within the context of SFS accepting a referral made by DCP to the SFS program area under the outcome of ‘Refer State Authority’ (under the Children and Young People [Safety] Act 2017 [SA])
Supporting a client to transition from SFS to another service provider by contacting an agency prior to the client. This can include the sharing of information between SFS, the client and the agency, a joint home visit(s) or meeting, to ensure that the agency has received all the information that they require in order to accept the referral and provide the client with the services they require.
White privilege can be defined as the implicit societal advantages afforded to white people, characterised by racial inequality and injustice. The privileges of whiteness generally go unnoticed by those that benefit from this system. It is important to understand white privilege and identify these inherent advantages in order to reject them so that they do not continue to reinforce our present hierarchies.Page last updated : 20 Sep 2022