On 9 November 2016, the Family Matters campaign released its inaugural report. This report revealed shocking results on the state of child protection in Australia for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children including:
- Numbers of Indigenous children in the child protection system is set to triple (from 15,000 to 45,000) by 2035 should current trends continue.
- Only 17% ($700 million) of overall child protection funding was invested in support services for children and their families, this means the bulk of spending is in reacting to problems ($3.5 billion) rather than solving them.
- Only 66% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Australia were placed in accordance with the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle.
- Poor performance by Western Australia with the highest rates of over-representation (16.2x) and the lowest investment in evidence based strategies for redress.
- South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory also reflect particularly poorly against all these measures (9.2x and 13x rates of over-representation) respectively.
- The Northern Territory (9.8x rate of over-representation) demonstrates a lack of engagement with evidence informed solutions to concerns around child neglect, abuse and removal.
- Victoria features as a leading state in all areas except access to intensive family support services.
This baseline report will now be produced annually to measure progress. Through collaboration and a renewed government commitment, the Family Matters campaign is confident it can achieve real, sustained change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child safety and well-being outcomes.