Community leaders and more than 150 child welfare organisations from across the country are using the Family Matters National Week of Action to raise awareness of the increasing number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being removed from family.
Mick Dodson, Cheryl Axleby, Tony McAvoy and Hannah McGlade are amongst the Aboriginal leaders participating in the National Week of Action, helping to shine a light on the solutions that exist within community, and the role that a new federal government has to play in supporting communities to address this issue.
A key call of the Family Matters campaign to the new Coalition Government is the need for a comprehensive national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Strategy, to eliminate over-representation of our children in out-of-home care and address the causes of child removal. Leaders have identified, and will be promoting this week, critical components of the strategy required to turn this issue around and ensure our children are safe and cared for within family and culture.
We’re tackling the same issues we were facing at the time of the national apology – 11 years ago now, and for generations before that.
“We need an approach underpinned by healing and supporting our communities – one that aims to address all the things that lead to contact with the child protection system, such as inadequate housing, trauma, family violence and poverty.”– Richard Weston, Family Matters Co-Chair
The National Week of Action is an annual awareness-raising event to draw national attention to the vast number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being removed from family across the country and evidence-based solutions to turn this around.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are more than 11 times more likely to be removed from their families than other Australian children. The number of our children being removed is dramatically increasing by the year.
Through the National Week of Action communities across the country hold their own events to raise awareness of this issue, and showcase the community-led initiatives making a difference in the lives of children and families in contact with the child protection system.
A number of key resources developed for the 2019 National Week of Action will be promoted, including a video clip and Family Matters community resource guides, which provide information for families in need.
The child development, safety and wellbeing community sectors, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities around the country, are united in calling for this issue to be on top of the federal agenda in this new term of government.
When it comes to the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal children, the Australian Government has demonstrated a mastery of gesture politics that is absent in reform. The majority of recommendations from every related inquiry or report remain largely unimplemented.
“There is opportunity for the incoming Federal Coalition Government, with fresh Ministers leading portfolios, to genuinely do things differently. To this Government I say, we have no other option.”– Natalie Lewis, Family Matters Co-Chair