Social and emotional wellbeing program - handbook for link up service providers

1 Services supporting members of the Stolen Generations on their way home

Page last updated: June 2012

1.1 The social and emotional wellbeing program
1.2 What is this handbook?
1.3 What does the handbook include?

1.1 The social and emotional wellbeing program

In the 2011–12 Federal Budget, the Australian Government announced ongoing funding for existing counselling, family tracing and reunion services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities prioritising members of the Stolen Generations. These services are now consolidated under a Social and Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) Program.

The SEWB Program includes:
  • counselling, family tracing and reunion services to members of the Stolen Generations, through the existing network of Link Up services across Australia
  • SEWB services, particularly counselling services, to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, through existing mental health and counselling staff based in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) across Australia
  • national coordination and support for the SEWB workforce.
SEWB programs are an Australian Government funded initiative. Under the new SEWB program arrangements, Bringing Them Home (BTH) and Link Up counsellors are now referred to as 'SEWB Counsellors'.

Link Up services support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people separated from their families as a result of past governments' removal policies and practices, including institutionalisation and adoption or foster care. Link Up services aim to help members of Stolen Generations trace their families, and be reunited with them where possible.

SEWB counselling services are located within Link Up services or ACCHOs. They provide counselling, health promotion and early intervention services to promote social and emotional wellbeing amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, including Stolen Generations. Counsellors possess formal tertiary or vocational qualifications to a minimum of a Certificate IV qualification from a nationally recognised course of study in one of the following fields: counselling; psychology; social work; mental health or related area.

1.2 What is this handbook?

This handbook is a reference tool for all service providers conducting Link Up services. It sets out DoHA's requirements for the provision of Link Up services, and will help make sure Link Up services around Australia meet a consistent standard. SEWB Counsellors in Link Up services should also refer to the Social Emotional Wellbeing Counselling Program – Handbook for Counsellors.Top of page

1.3 What does the handbook include?

The handbook includes:
  • background information on the Link Up Program and how it fits with other DoHA initiatives
  • mandatory requirements that Link Up services must abide by
  • non-mandatory guidelines that help in applying the mandatory requirements
  • reference information
  • a guide to finding additional resources and information (see Appendix).

1.3.1 Who should use the handbook?

Link Up coordinators, caseworkers and other staff members should use the Handbook to make sure the services they provide are in line with DoHA's requirements. SEWB counsellors in Link Up services should also refer to the Social and Emotional Wellbeing Counselling Program – Handbook for Counsellors, which complements this handbook. Both are available free of charge on request from DoHA State and Territory Offices (STOs).

1.3.2 Which parts of the handbook are mandatory?

Mandatory requirement: Mandatory requirements are indicated in the handbook. SEWB service providers must comply with these requirements. Compliance will be linked to ongoing funding for services.

A checklist of mandatory requirements can be found at Section 11.

The other parts of the handbook are guidelines and are not mandatory. However, the guidelines provide important advisory information for Link Up services. Adherence to the guidelines in the handbook would also be considered in assessing whether the service provider has acted appropriately should the organisation be reviewed by DoHA.

1.3.3 How does this handbook relate to funding agreements?

The funding agreement signed between DoHA and the Link Up service sets out the requirements for each signatory party to the funding agreement.

All funding agreements include a reference to this handbook, and require Link Up services to comply with the mandatory requirements of the handbook.

1.3.4 For more information

For more information about using the handbook please contact your relevant DoHA STO.