Q: What does out-of-home care mean?
A: Out-of-home care refers to the care of children and young people up to 18 years who are unable to live with their families (often due to child abuse and neglect). It involves the placement of a child or young person outside the parental home with alternate caregivers on a short or long-term basis including foster, residential and kinship care, family group homes and independent living.
Q: What is kinship care?
A: Kinship care refers to the care of children by relatives or, in some jurisdictions, close family friends. Relatives are the preferred resource for children who must be removed from their birth parents because it maintains the children’s connections with their families.
Q: Does Family Matters promote cultural needs over the safety of a child?
A: Child safety is paramount and there may be times when a child must be removed and placed into out-of home care. However, alternatives to invest in and heal families must be prioritised. Family Matters contends that safety and prioritising connection to culture are not mutually exclusive.
Q: Why is it important that we reduce the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the child protection system?
A:For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children children, connections, to their family, community and culture and critical to their wellbeing and positive identity.
The consequences of child removal are profound: devastating families; deepening intergenerational trauma; too often severing children’s cultural bonds and triggering poor life outcomes; and eroding culture and community.
Q: Why are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being removed at such high rates?
A: The Bringing them Home report recognised the causes of overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in child protection substantiations as complex, and include the legacy of past policies of forced removal, intergenerational effects of previous separations from family and culture, lower socioeconomic status, and perceptions arising from cultural differences in child-rearing practices.
These causes reflect government failures to address disparities driven by historical and continuing injustice. These disparities impact the health and wellbeing of parents and carers and ultimately erode the supportive environment for children.