MARABISDA Inc. (Mackay and Region Aboriginal and Islander Development Association) is an Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Australian South Sea Islander community controlled organisation.  The organisation was founded in 2008 by foundling member Greg Sutherland, and was developed to service and support these three specific cultural groups of the Mackay region.  MARABISDA Inc.’s focus is to support and advocate for vulnerable Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Australian South Sea Islander families and children.  The organisation also aims to assist and support individuals and community, particularly in the areas of sport, culture, education and employment aspirations.



Our Community – Caring for our Kids

Piccaninny Foster and Kinship Care Service is sponsored by MARABISDA Inc. and are in receipt of funding from the Department of Communities – Child Safety and Disability Services.

The service commenced in 2012. Staff are recruited and undertake training to build relationships with Indigenous Foster and Kinship Carers, Child Safety Services staff and other Foster Carer support agencies operating in Mackay, Sarina and Bowen.

“Children are not things to be moulded, but are people to be unfolded”. – Jesse Lair

What is Foster Care? Foster carers open their hearts and homes to children and young people who are unable to live with their families because of abuse and neglect.

What is Kinship Care? Kinship care is provided by a relative, family member, close friend, or a member of the child or young person’ community.  For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, a kinship carer may be an Indigenous person who is a member of their community, a compatible community or from the same language group.

What are we Funded to do?

  • Indigenous Foster Carer Recruitment, Assessment, Training and Support.
  • Monitor the care levels and placements of children and young people with carers.
  • Build positive relationships with the Department of Child Safety Services and other relevant stakeholders.
  • Reporting and accountability requirements.

More Information…

We would love to have the opportunity of speaking with you about the rewarding experience of fostering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and the importance of keeping our children connected with culture and community whilst they are in the care and protection of Child Safety Services. Please contact us at our office (07) 4848 1062 or email



The primary role of the Recognised Entity is to work collaboratively with the department in each phase of the decision-making processes, to improve the outcome for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children.

Child Protection Phases:

  • Intake
  • Investigation and Assessment
  • SCAN (Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect) system
  • Family Group Meeting
  • Court
  • Placement
  • Standard of Care concerns (SOC)

The function of the Recognised Entity is to:

  • Advocate the best interests of and delivering effective protection and care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people who have been harmed or at risk of harm.
  • Ensure adherence to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle under Section 83 of the Child Protection Act 1999.
  • Contribute to the development of cultural plans for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people subject to ongoing intervention to ensure they maintain contact with the family (where this is deemed to be safe), community and culture to preserve and enhance their sense of identity.
  • Identify key points of contacts between all parties to ensure service delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people, their family(s) and/or carer(s) is culturally appropriate, accessible and responsive to their individual needs.



MARABISDA Inc. has an Indigenous Family wellbeing service for vulnerable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people (unborn to 18 years) at risk of entry or re-entry into statutory child protection system and their families. We are funded by the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.

Our Referral Criteria

  • Child or young person (unborn to 18 years) who identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  • Family has multiple and/or complex needs
  • The family will benefit from access to intensive and specialist support services
  • Without support, the child, young person and family are at risk of entering or re-entering the statutory child protection system
  • The child is not currently in need of protection.

We provide a mix of tangible and intangible supports and service system developments for families to include:

  • Practical support
  • Personal support
  • Clinical and therapeutic services
  • Connection

We accept referrals online only from:

  • Self and Family members
  • Magistrates Courts
  • Government agencies (to include schools)
  • Non-Government Organisations
  • Health clinics
  • Family and Child connect
  • Child Safety
  • Other tertiary, intensive and secondary support services

To make an online referral please click here