Family Matters welcomes the focus on protecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from today’s COAG meeting, and encourages the establishment of a target and strategy to genuinely address the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children removed from their families.
As the nation prepares to reflect on a decade passing since the Apology to the Stolen Generations, the failures of the past, and the devastating ongoing impacts these have had on our children and families, it is crucial that a new strategy is developed immediately.
Recent data has revealed that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 10.1 times more likely to be removed by child protection authorities than non-Indigenous children.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experts from across the country have continuously pointed to the necessity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership in addressing these issues. Our knowledge, understanding and expertise must lead efforts to create better futures for our children.
A group of prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders gathered in Canberra yesterday to discuss the refresh of the Closing the Gap targets and highlighted the need to expand the targets, including a new focus on families, children and youth, and justice, including youth justice.
Family Matters is calling for new targets through the Closing the Gap refresh to eliminate over-representation in out-of-home care and address the gap in access to early childhood supports that help to keep children safe at home. Targets must be underpinned by a strategy that addresses the underlying causes of child protection intervention – including family violence, intergenerational trauma, drug and alcohol, mental health and disability issues.
We have the solutions, supported by national and international evidence. We are committed to this process, and we cannot implement these solutions without the commitment, support and trust of State and Federal Governments.