The Evidence Portal

Aboriginal-led Early Support Programs Evidence Review

Gamarada Universal Indigenous Resources Pty Ltd conducted an evidence review on Aboriginal-led early support programs and services to improve the wellbeing of Aboriginal children, young people, families and communities.

The review involved an electronic database search, a grey literature search and community outreach to elicit other sources of evidence regarding community services and programs. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied to ensure that the evidence related to Aboriginal designed and delivered early support programs only.

The Evidence Portal Technical Specifications were not used in conducting this evidence review. This allowed the review to identify a broad range of evidence and specifically culturally-appraised evidence which may not be captured by traditional evidence reviews using the hierarchy of evidence.

The combined search strategies identified 79 evidence sources after inclusion and exclusion criteria had been applied. The Aboriginal researcher from Gamarada then conducted a cultural appraisal of each individual piece of evidence using a Cultural Lens Matrix.

Evidence rated highly through the cultural appraisal was analysed to identify eight common features of Aboriginal-led early support programs: 

  • Community designed or co-designed;
  • Community-led;
  • Cultural safety;
  • Strengths-based, culture-affirming approaches;
  • Trauma-informed and healing-focused;
  • Holistic, wraparound components;
  • Collaboration and coordination with mainstream services; and
  • Flexible delivery.

For more information about the evidence review, see the Evidence to Action Note (PDF, 203.1 KB) and the Full Report (PDF, 1.7 MB).


The following limitations in the review should be noted:

  • Only programs and practices supported by some kind of documentation were included. Therefore, the review does not include evidence for programs lacking documentation.
  • The review did not conduct a critical appraisal of the evidence about outcomes, and therefore further investigation is required to assess the strength of the evidence regarding the effectiveness of the programs.
Last updated:

12 Jan 2024

Was this content useful?
We will use your rating to help improve the site.
Please don't include personal or financial information here
Please don't include personal or financial information here

We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future. 

Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.

You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.

Top Return to top of page Top