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Abstract

Objective: To adapt the Family Wellbeing empowerment program, which was initially designed to support adults to take greater control and responsibility for their decisions and lives, to the needs of Indigenous school children living in remote communities.

Method: At the request of two schools in remote Indigenous communities in far north Queensland, a pilot personal development and empowerment program based on the adult Family Wellbeing principles was developed, conducted and evaluated in the schools. The main aims of the program were to build personal identity and to encourage students to recognise their future potential and be more aware of their place in the community and wider society.

Results: Participation in the program resulted in significant social and emotional growth for the students. Outcomes described by participating students and teachers included increased analytical and reflective skills, greater ability to think for oneself and set goals, less teasing and bullying in the school environment, and an enhanced sense of identity, friendship and ‘social relatedness’.

Conclusion: This pilot implementation of the Family Wellbeing Program adapted for schools demonstrated the program's potential to enhance Indigenous young people's personal growth and development. Challenges remain in increasing parental/ family involvement and ensuring the program's sustainability and transferability. The team has been working with relevant stakeholders to further develop and package the School-based Family Wellbeing program for Education Queensland's New Basics curriculum framework.