Family Matters reports examine what governments are doing to turn the tide on over-representation and the outcomes for our children. They also highlight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led solutions and call on governments to support and invest in the strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to lead on child wellbeing, development and
safety responses for our children.
This year’s Family Matters report is the third to be published following the development of the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap (the National Agreement), which was entered into in July 2020. Under the
National Agreement, governments across the country committed to make decisions in genuine partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations; to invest in our community-controlled services; to transform government agencies and non-Indigenous services into culturally safe organisations; and to develop data and monitor outcomes in
partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The National Agreement also committed specifically to reducing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s over-representation in out-of-home
care by 45% by the year 2031, a target well aligned to the Family Matters campaign’s call to eliminate overrepresentation by 2040.
However, after more than two years of the National Agreement’s existence, it is clear that limited progress has been made to redress over-representation and the drivers of child protection intervention. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continue to be separated from their families, communities and cultures at devastatingly high rates. There were 22,243 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care: one in every 15.2 – at 30 June 2021, making our children 10.4 times more likely to be in out-of-home care than non-Indigenous children (up from 10 times more likely in 2019-20).