NACCHO Aboriginal Children’s Health : Download @AIHW releases its first comprehensive report on the health and wellbeing of our kids since 2012 : #Health #Education #SocialSupport #Housing #JusticeandSafety

 ” Children in Australia are generally happy, healthy and safe, according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

But children’s experiences and outcomes can vary depending on where they live and their families’ circumstances.

The report, Australia’s children, brings together data about children and their experiences at home, school and in their communities, along with statistics on important influences such as parental health, family support networks and household finances.

The report focuses generally on children aged 0–12, spanning infancy, early childhood and primary school years. ” 

Download the PDF Report and link to all contents HERE

NACCHO Announcement 2020

After 2,800 Aboriginal Health Alerts over 7 and half years from www.nacchocommunique.com NACCHO media will cease publishing from this site as from 31 December 2019 and resume mid January 2020 with posts from www.naccho.org.au

For historical and research purposes all posts 2012-2019 will remain on www.nacchocommunique.com

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Download the NACCHO Annual Report

‘From an early age, most Australian children have the foundations to support good health and wellbeing as they grow up,’ said AIHW spokesperson Louise York.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

Click on this links for 

1.Health  Smoking ,Teenage Mothers ,Birth weight ,Immunisation ,Injury Deaths

2.Education

3.Social Support

4. Housing

5. Justice and Safety

How are Australia’s children faring on national indicators?

Doing well

  • Death rates among Australia’s infants and children have dropped substantially. Between 1998 and 2017, infant deaths dropped from 5.0 to 3.3 deaths per 1,000 live births. Child deaths halved from 20 to 10 deaths per 100,000 children.
  • Less mothers are smoking during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Between 2011 and 2017, the proportion of mothers smoking fell from 13% to 9.5%.
  • The proportion of Year 5 students achieving at or above the national minimum standard for reading and numeracy increased between 2008 and 2018. Reading increased from 91% to 95% and numeracy from 93% to 96%.
  • The rate of children aged 10–14 under youth justice supervision decreased between 2008–09 and 2017–18, from 95 to 73 per 100,000 children.

Could be better

  • Around 1 in 4 children aged 5–14 are overweight or obese, with the proportion remaining relatively stable between 2007–08 (23%) and 2017–18 (24%).
  • Most children (96%) aged 5–14 do not eat enough vegetables, with the proportion meeting the guidelines for vegetable consumption only increasing slightly between 2014–15 (2.9%) and 2017–18 (4.4%).
  • In 2016–17, there were around 66,500 hospitalised injury cases for children aged 0–14, slightly higher than 10 years earlier. The rate was relatively stable between  2007–08 and 2016–17 (1,419 and 1,445 per 100,000, respectively).
  • Around 19,400 (0.4%) of children aged 0–14 were homeless on Census night in 2016, similar to the proportion in 2006 (0.5%).

What do Australia’s children say?

  • Most children (91%) aged 12–13 felt safe in their neighbourhood in 2015–16.
  • 1 in 5 Year 4 students experienced bullying on a weekly basis in 2015.
  • Most children (94%) in years 4, 6 and 8 spent quality time doing at least one of talking, having fun or learning with their family most days in the week in 2014.
  • 97% of children aged 12–13 had someone to talk to if they have a problem in 2016.
  • Almost 9 in 10 children aged 12–13 would talk to their mum and/or dad if they had a problem in 2016.
  • For children in years 4, 6 and 8, health ranked as the second most important domain, after family, for having a good life in 2014.

In 2017, just under 1 in 10 mothers smoked during their pregnancy, compared to 1 in 8 mothers in 2011. In 2016

35% of women drank alcohol during pregnancy, down from 42% in 2013. In 2018, about 9 in 10 children aged 2 were fully immunised.

Deaths among infants and children are uncommon, having fallen markedly over the past 2 decades. Injury and cancer are the leading causes of death for children aged 1-14 years—however, the death rates for both have reduced significantly.

Most parents share stories with their infants, with almost 4 in 5 children aged 0–2 read to or told stories by a parent regularly in 2017, and 90% of eligible children enrolled in a preschool program in the year before they entered full- time school.

In some areas, children in Australia show signs of healthy lifestyles—for example, in 2017–18, almost three- quarters (72%) of children aged 5–14 eat enough fruit every day. Despite this, very few (4%) eat enough vegetables and almost half (42%) usually consumed sugar sweetened drinks at least once a week.

Around 65% of children aged 5–8, 78% of children aged 9–11 and 72% of children aged 12–14 participated in organised physical activities outside of school hours at least once per week in 2018. However, other data sources included in the report suggest that in 2011–12, less than one-quarter (23%) of children aged 5–14 undertook the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day and less than one-third (32%) met the screen-based activity guidelines (to limit screen-based activity to no more than 60 minutes per day). Planned updates to these data under the Intergenerational Health and Mental Health Study will be useful.

‘In 2017–18, about a quarter of children aged 5–14 were overweight or obese, similar to 2007–08. The likelihood of a child being overweight or obese is greater if they live outside major cities, in one-parent families, or if they have a disability,’ Ms York said.

Literacy and numeracy are fundamental building blocks for children’s educational achievement, lives outside school, engagement with society and future employment prospects. In 2018, almost all Year 3, 5 and 7 students achieved at or above the minimum standards for reading and numeracy. However, results were lower among some groups of children. For example, Year 5 students in more remote areas of Australia were less likely to meet the minimum standards, as were Indigenous students.

Between 2008 and 2018, the proportion of Indigenous students in Year 5 at or above national minimum standards for reading rose from 63% to 77%, and for numeracy rose from 69% to 81%.

While school years can provide positive experiences for children, bullying is an issue for many. In 2015, almost 3 in 5 Year 4 students reported that they experienced bullying monthly or weekly during the school year. The rise of the internet has also enabled bullying to spread online.

‘In 2016–17, receiving unwanted contact and content was the most commonly reported negative online experience for children aged 8–12, experienced by about a quarter of all children,’ Ms York said.

Most children say they look to their parents for support in difficult times—in 2016, 9 in 10 children aged 12–13 said they would talk to their mum and/or dad if they had a problem.

In 2013–14, an estimated 314,000 children aged 4–11 (almost 14%) experienced a mental disorder, with boys more commonly affected than girls (17% compared with 11%).

‘Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), was the most common mental disorder for children (8.2%), followed by Anxiety Disorders (6.9%),’ said Ms York.

Household finances—including whether adults in the household have a job—can affect a child’s health, emotional wellbeing, education and ability to take part in social activities. In 2017–18, there were 2 million low-income households in Australia, about a quarter of which had at least 1 dependent child aged 0–14.

Ms York said there is always more to learn about children and their experiences, including how children transition through major developmental stages and how longer-term outcomes may vary depending on childhood circumstances.

‘In particular, it is important to learn more about how certain groups of children are faring, including those with a disability, those from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds, and those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, or children who have intersex variations,’ Ms York said.

‘It is also important to gather more evidence about children’s own perspectives on issues affecting their lives and development, to ensure children’s views are heard.’

This is the AIHW’s first comprehensive report on children since 2012. It updates and extends data about Australia’s children and provides suggestions for how to fill known information gaps.

NACCHO Aboriginal Children’s Health and @TAPPCentre #ChildSafety : @Walgett_AMS #PoolDay Community-led solutions will improve Aboriginal child safety promote community-building, togetherness, health and wellbeing and health promotion activity

“A Prevention Centre project looking at Aboriginal child injury launched its first community event on Saturday 30 November at Walgett Swimming pool. Focusing on water safety, nearly 400 people gathered at the pool to swim, talk, play and focus on the wellbeing of their young people.

A Prevention Centre project promoting Aboriginal child injury prevention held its first community event on Saturday 30 November at Walgett Swimming Pool.

The Walgett Pool Day was led by local Aboriginal community-controlled organisations as a fun and positive day for families to be together and safely enjoy the pool.”

Originally published by the Prevention Centre HERE

Read over 370 Aboriginal Children’s Health articles published by NACCHO over past 7 Years 

NACCHO Announcement 2020

After 2,800 Aboriginal Health Alerts over 7 and half years from www.nacchocommunique.com NACCHO media will cease publishing from this site as from 31 December 2019 and resume mid January 2020 with posts from www.naccho.org.au

For historical and research purposes all posts 2012-2019 will remain on www.nacchocommunique.com

Your current email subscription will be automatically transferred to our new Aboriginal Health News Alerts Subscriber service that will offer you the options of Daily , Weekly or Monthly alerts

For further info contact Colin Cowell NACCHO Social Media Media Editor

Almost 400 people attended, with free entry to the pool for a day of yarning, talking about what Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service (WAMS) Goonimoo Mobile Children’s Services will be delivering next year, barbecue, salad, fruit, iced water and the chance to win a family pool season pass.

Injury is the leading cause of death in Australian children. Programs targeting parents of young children offer an opportunity for engagement and improving health literacy around injury prevention throughout children’s lives.

Programs also need to target community-level factors that affect injuries like the physical environment and policies. Change at this level requires community buy-in; relationship-building and events like the pool day build good will and positive associations with the program.

“Parents are really keen to get involved to keep their kids safe. They have ideas about what can be done at a community level and they’re also keen to learn more about what they can do to prevent injuries.” Tara Smith, Goonimoo Child Injury Prevention Educator.

Community-led

Working closely with local community groups, the Child Injury Prevention Program (CHIPP) has been developed as a community-led project and will be delivered through the existing supported playgroup Goonimoo run by WAMS which works with other local children’s services. This leverages existing knowledge and expertise about local service delivery and the relationships with Walgett families attending this well-established organisation.

“We’ve been having lots of informal yarns with parents during playgroup about the sorts of activities they want to do. We also held some formal research yarning groups with Nellie and Mel from UNSW at Goonimoo, with WAMS health personnel and other local children’s services,” said Amy Townsend Manager of Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service’s Goonimoo Mobile Children’s Services.

“We asked parents what sorts of injury issues they are concerned about and the topics they’d be interested in covering next year,” said Amy.

Parent involvement key to child safety

The involvement of parents is key to the success of the program and research shows it’s an effective route to reducing child injury.

“Parents are really keen to get involved to keep their kids safe. They have ideas about what can be done at a community level and they’re also keen to learn more about what they can do to prevent injuries,” said Tara Smith, Goonimoo Child Injury Prevention Educator.

“They also want to learn first aid – things like CPR and first aid for choking and snake bites – because we’re often a long way from help out here. Snake bites are a big issue in our community, so this is a priority area. Parents are keen, and always encouraged to have a say about the sorts of activities they want to do at Goonimoo’s playgroup ,” said Tara.

Tara has been working with Goonimoo for several years as a qualified educator, prior to which she was an Aboriginal Health Worker at Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service. Tara’s focus in 2020 is on delivering and refining the CHIPP program. Tara is currently studying to become an Aboriginal Health Practitioner.

“I’m learning a lot about child injury. For example, I’ve just been to Sydney to start the Austswim Teacher of Swimming and Water Safety course so we can do ‘parents and bubs’ water familiarisation play sessions at the pool next year. Aboriginal families don’t really have access to these sort of water activities in Walgett at the moment,” said Tara.

Tara also co-presented about CHIPP with Dr Melanie Andersen at the Australasian Injury Prevention Network Conference in Brisbane in November.

Walgett Pool Day

Walgett is situated at the junction of the Barwon and Namoi rivers, and the community has a healthy respect for the importance of water safety. CHIPP’s focus on water safety in term one was the result of community consultation.

Walgett’s pool has always been a strong focus for the community to come together, exercise and get some welcome respite from its long, dry summers, particularly now that the rivers are very depleted due to the drought.

“The CHIPP team has yarned with parents about what they’d like from the program, and about injury prevention in general, over the past few months. The Walgett Pool Day was a great opportunity to reach families to promote Goonimoo and the CHIPP program. We also had a few good yarns with the pool manager about water safety, existing and previous swimming programs at Walgett and the pool-based playgroup next year” said Dr Melanie Andersen from UNSW,  a key investigator on the Prevention Centre project.

“The turnout was great and we think that was a result of a long period of promotion by Goonimoo and combining forces with Yuwaya Ngarra-li and Dharriwaa Elders Group so families had transport to and from the pool. The pool was packed with children and families having a ball and cooling down on the 38oC day. We spoke to many people about the program and we’re looking forward to seeing them at the parents and bubs swimming sessions in 2020,” said Dr Andersen.

Community organisations key to success

The success of the Walgett Pool Day is down to the strong local Aboriginal community-controlled organisations who collaborated to bring people together.

“Yuwaya Ngarra-li – the partnership between Walgett’s Dharriwaa Elders Group (DEG) and UNSW, were doing their annual community data gathering day with children and young people. Because the CHIPP program was introduced to Walgett through the Yuwaya Ngarra-li partnership, we decided to combine our resources,” said Wendy Spencer, Project Manager with Dharriwaa Elders Group and Yuwaya Ngarra-li (Dharriwaa Elders Group’s formal research partnership with UNSW Sydney).

“WAMS, DEG, Yuwaya Ngarra-li and the CHIPP team all contributed resources including staff time, food, accommodation, transport, sun-safety giveaways like hats and sunscreen and other resources to make the day a success. We were also pleased that Mission Australia kindly ran the barbecue and the Police Citizens Youth Club provided the music. I was really pleased with the happy good vibe of the day where we had the opportunity to provide some good food, free entry and a fun family time at the pool to cap off a difficult year for everyone in Walgett,”said Wendy.

The day was such a success that Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service will hold two additional community pool days this summer to promote community-building, togetherness, health and wellbeing and as a forum for health promotion activity.

“CHIPP will begin again in earnest next year at Goonimoo, aiming to start off in term one at the pool with parents and bubs water play sessions. The program will focus around activity and play,” said Dr Mel Andersen.

“So, for example, while Goonimoo staff teach parents water familiarisation activities to do with their kids that build water skills, staff will also yarn about drowning prevention. Each school term will have a different injury prevention focus, including sport and physical activity, home safety and road safety.”

Walgett community tips for child water safety

  • Close and constant active adult supervision is the key, even in shallow water
  • Drowning is quick and silent
  • Teach swimming and water safety as early as possible
  • Talk to your children, explain the potential for danger but have fun

Read more

All images © 2019 Dharriwaa Elders Group

Story by Helen Loughlin, Senior Communications Officer

Published: 17 December 2019

NACCHO Aboriginal Children’s Health Resources : Download report : Why we need to rethink Aboriginal childhood #obesity ? Q and A with @SaxInstitute @simonesherriff

 
“Rates of obesity are high among Aboriginal children, but there’s a lack of policies, guidelines and programs to tackle the issue. Now a new paper published this week in the December issue of Public Health Research & Practice is calling for more meaningful engagement with Aboriginal communities to better address childhood obesity.

Here, lead author Simone Sherriff, a Wotjobaluk woman, PhD student and project officer with the Study of Environment on Aboriginal Resilience and Child Health (SEARCH) at the Sax Institute talks about the paper and her take on the obesity challenges facing Aboriginal communities.

Download Copy of Paper 

ATSI Childhood Obesity

Read over 70 Aboriginal Health and Obesity articles published by NACCHO over the past 7 Years 

Q: Childhood obesity is a national concern, but as your paper points out, Aboriginal children are far more profoundly affected than non-Aboriginal children. What’s going on?

A: I think it’s complicated, but in order to better understand Aboriginal childhood obesity we need to look beyond general individual risk factors, and consider how colonisation has impacted and continues to impact on the health and wellbeing of our people and communities today.

For example, Aboriginal people were forced off Country, unable to access traditional foods and made to adopt unhealthy western diets whilst living on missions and reserves.

Another thing that should be considered is the exclusion of Aboriginal people in Australia from education, health, politics and all systems, so it’s no wonder we see a gap between our health and the rest of the Australian population and continue to see a lack of relevant policies and programs from state and national governments.

These bigger structural and systemic issues are like a waterfall flowing on to affect communities, families and individuals. And until these issues are addressed, it’s going to be very difficult to close the gap on childhood obesity.

Q: What’s currently being done to address childhood obesity among Aboriginal children?

A: There are many great healthy lifestyle programs for preventing childhood obesity within our Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHS) sector, but generally there’s a lack of investment and funding into these services by government.

This is unfortunate because I think the rest of Australia could learn a lot from the model of healthcare that the ACCHS sector provides for our people. As Darryl Wright, the CEO of Tharawal Aboriginal Medical Corporation always says – our ACCHSs are like one-stop shops catering for all parts of a person’s health and wellbeing. So rather than looking at childhood obesity and thinking only about healthy eating and exercise, this kind of model considers a more holistic approach and the range of things that could be impacting on a person’s health and the community.

As mentioned in our paper, there are also a number of government and mainstream programs targeting healthy weight that have been culturally adapted for Aboriginal children and families. One example is the NSW Go4Fun program, which is designed for 7- to 13-year-olds who are above a healthy weight. When they did an evaluation of the mainstream Go4Fun program, they noticed that there were quite a few Aboriginal children who came into the program, but they had very low completion rates.

This evaluation led Go4Fun to consult with Aboriginal organisations and communities to understand how to improve the program to be more culturally appropriate. And as a result, organisers changed the way they were running the program and also set up Aboriginal advisory groups at local health districts. It’ll be interesting to see if this has positive impacts for the local participating communities.

Q: What are the biggest challenges for these existing programs?

A: There are a few, but the biggest challenge is that these programs are created and developed by non-Aboriginal people for Aboriginal children, meaning that they’re not always relevant, or they don’t consider the holistic approach that’s required to address childhood obesity.

Another important challenge is that some mainstream childhood obesity programs haven’t collected information on Aboriginal children separately, so even though there might be Aboriginal children participating in these programs, they tend not to report those separately.

We also need to consider the focus of these programs, which are currently targeting childhood obesity with healthy eating, education and physical activity. Although these are really important, lots of Aboriginal families are food insecure – which means they’re running out of food and can’t access food or afford to buy more. Recent data shows that 1 in 4 Aboriginal people are food insecure. I believe these rates are underestimated and the rates of Aboriginal families who are food insecure would actually be much higher than this data shows. This is compared with fewer than 1 in 20 people in the general population.

So how are programs that target healthy eating meant to be effective if people can’t even afford to buy food or can’t access it? Again, it’s going back to those bigger issues.

Q: How can Australia begin closing the gap on childhood obesity?

A: I think one thing that could be done is there needs to be more funding and resources put into the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service sector, as they’re run by their community for their community, so they’re best placed to design, implement and evaluate childhood obesity programs. And currently there are no specific policies for Aboriginal childhood obesity – we’re just mentioned as a target group within the general childhood obesity policies. That could be another good place to start.

The Study of Environment on Aboriginal Resilience and Child Health (SEARCH) team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q: Why is it so important to have locally-informed, culturally appropriate programs?

A: There is evidence that programs led and delivered by Aboriginal communities lead to better health outcomes for their community. I think it’s so important to have Aboriginal people in leadership and key decision-making roles with a proper seat at the table within all of these systems. And it’s also important to ensure that local Aboriginal voices are heard and they are leaders and drivers of local programs.

If not, I think it’s impossible for government and non-Aboriginal service providers to deliver programs and policies that are going to have a positive impact on the health of our mob. To see real gains, we need all government policies and programs to value self-determination, and these systems need to decolonise for all Australians to be able to have good health.

Find out more

NACCHO Aboriginal Youth Health : Download 2019 @MissionAust Reports Including 20 pages top 3 issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people – #mentalhealth, #alcohol and drugs and equity and #discrimination. Plus #NACCHOYouth19 Interviews

” Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were asked to list the three issues they considered were the most important in Australia today.

In 2019, the top three issues identified by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people were mental health, alcohol and drugs and equity and discrimination.

  • Nearly three in ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people indicated that mental health (28.9%) and alcohol and drugs (28.1%) are important issues in Australia today.
  • Around one in four Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents reported that equity and discrimination (24.3%) and the environment (23.7%) are important national
  • Since 2018, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people reporting the environment as a key national issue has more than tripled from 8% to 23.7%. Conversely, concerns about mental health and bullying have decreased since 2018.

Extract from Report What issues do young people think are the most important in Australia today? see Pages 37-57 

The Mission Australia Youth Survey is the largest annual survey of young people of its kind in Australia.

It provides a platform for young people aged 15 to 19 to share their values, aspirations and concerns.

The Youth Survey provides a platform for young people to ‘speak up’ about the issues they are concerned about and it offers valuable insights into the experiences, concerns, challenges and ambitions of young people living in Australia.

Mission Australia CEO James Toomey says “Our Youth Survey has come of age this year and we take very seriously our responsibility and commitment to elevating the voices of young people who come from all across Australia.”

The results of the Youth Survey are shared widely with governments, schools, not-for-profit and community organisations, so that NGOs, social commentators, decision-makers and policymakers have access to current evidence on what young people are thinking, feeling and hoping in 2019.

The Youth Survey gives us the vital evidence needed to advocate with young people, and for them, for the services and policy responses that they need.

Young people have a vital role in shaping our tomorrow. If we ensure young people have the right supports and opportunities to be heard, the future will be brighter for everyone. Through this survey, once again, they are speaking to us, speaking to people who need to listen to them and respond to their very real concerns and aspirations.

For more information or to register your interest for the 2020 Youth Survey, please contact: youthsurvey@missionaustralia.com.au.

Download full 2019 Youth Report

Mission Australia Youth Survey FULL Report 2019

Download 2019 Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people Report

MA Youth Survey 2019 ATSI-Web

Profile of respondents

A total of 1,579 (6.4%) respondents to Mission Australia’s 2019 Youth Survey identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. Of this total, 1,310 (5.3%) respondents identified as Aboriginal, while 149 (0.6%) identified as Torres Strait Islander (the remaining 0.5% identified as both).

Gender breakdown

Nearly half (49.6%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents were female and 42.7% were male.

Language background other than English

A total of 173 (11.1%) Aboriginal and Torres  Strait Islander respondents stated that they were born overseas and 298 (19.2%)     Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people reported speaking a language other than English at home. Of the 43 languages other than English spoken at home by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents, the most common were (in order of frequency): Indigenous languages, Chinese, Spanish, Kriol and Japanese.

Disability

A total of 216 (13.8%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents identified as living with a disability. Twice the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males (14.4%) identified they were living with a disability (compared with 7.0% of females). The most frequently cited disabilities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents were (in order of frequency): autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities, anxiety disorder and deafness or hearing impairment.

Education

As indicated in Table 2.1, 83.1% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents were studying full-time, which is similar to the 83.3% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents studying full-time in 2018. A slightly higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females reported studying full-time (86.8% compared with 82.3% of males). Conversely, a slightly higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males reported they were not studying (11.6% compared with 8.1% of females).

Respondents who reported that they were currently studying were asked how satisfied they were with their studies. Responses to this question were rated on a 5-point scale that ranged from very satisfied to very dissatisfied. As in previous years, the majority of

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents reported that they were either very satisfied (10.8%) or satisfied (45.7%) with their studies. Around one in ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents indicated they were dissatisfied (5.9%) or very dissatisfied (5.4%). As shown in Table 2.2, a slightly higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males reported feeling very satisfied (12.7% compared with 8.6% of females), yet a much higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females indicated they felt satisfied (52.2% compared with 41.2% of males).

Of those that were still at school, 89.7% of Aboriginal and Torres  Strait Islander respondents stated that they intended to complete       Year 12 (compared with 96.4% of non-Indigenous respondents). More than twice the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males indicated that they did not plan to complete Year 12 (14.0% compared with 6.3% of females).

1 of 2 Interviews from our NACCHO Youth Conference Darwin 2019

This years NACCHO youth conference theme was ‘Healthy youth, healthy future’ with sessions follwing sub themes of leadership and resilience.

24 year old Gamilaroi and Dunghutti woman, and co-founder of Tiddas 4 Tiddas, Marlee Silva talked with our youth about the importance of social media among the Aboriginal and Torres Striat Islander population and how to use social media as activists to make a change for the better for our people!

“Tiddas 4 Tiddas is a social media based movement that is all about empowering and giving a voice to our Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander woman and girls.”

What issues are of personal concern to our young people?

Young people were asked to indicate how concerned they were about a number of issues over the past year, as shown in Figure 2.5. Responses were rated on a 5-point scale that ranged from extremely concerned to not at all concerned. The items were ranked in order of personal concern according to the summed responses for extremely concerned and very concerned for each item.

The top three issues of personal concern for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people were coping with stress, body image and mental health. The next most personally concerning issues were school or study problems and physical health.

  • Coping with stress was the top issue of concern, with nearly four in ten (38.4%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents indicating that they were extremely or very concerned about this
  • Around three in ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people were extremely or very concerned about body image (31.7%), mental health (31.5%) and school or study problems (30.5%).
  • Around one quarter of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents were extremely or very concerned about physical health (25.6%) and family conflict (23.3%).

2 of 2 Interviews from our NACCHO Youth Conference Darwin 2019

Amanda Sibosado from SAHMRI talks with NACCHO about her experience at the NACCHO Members’ Conference 2019 and tells us a little bit about the Young Deadly Free Project and her role as co-ordinator.

Amanda ran a workshop with our young proffesionals at the NACCHO Youth Conference held on the first day of our Members’ conference. The groups came up with some new ideas and input on how health services can assist young people in the approach to STI testing with shame gremlins and how services can work with young people to over come these.

Have our young people experienced bullying?

For the first time in 2019, young people were asked whether they had experienced bullying over the past twelve months. Three in ten (29.9%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people reported that they had experienced bullying in the past twelve months (compared with 20.3% of non-Indigenous respondents).

A much higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females reported that they had experienced bullying over the past year (33.4% compared with 22.0% of males).

Young people who reported that they had experienced bullying over the past year were then asked to identify from a list of suggested locations where the bullying took place. Table 2.6 shows that, of the 29.9% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents who had experienced bullying in the past year, nearly three quarters (72.5%) reported that the bullying took place at school/TAFE/university.

Four in ten (40.9%) indicated they had experienced bullying online/on social media, while three in ten (30.1%) stated they had experienced bullying at home. Around one in six reported that they experienced this in my neighbourhood (16.8%) or at work (15.8%).

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents who reported they had experienced bullying across the majority of locations was much higher than the proportion of non-Indigenous respondents

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Immunisation Good News #ProtectOurMob : @GregHuntMP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island childhood immunisation rates for 5 yr olds hitting a record high 97 %

The Federal Government’s ongoing commitment to immunisation education is protecting more children from infectious diseases, with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Island childhood immunisation rates hitting a record high.

New data for the September 2019 quarter shows immunisation coverage for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is at record levels across all three age groups:

  • One-year-old Indigenous coverage continues to move towards the national target of 95 per cent, with September 2019 coverage at 92.48 per cent, up 0.09 per cent since June 2019.
  • Two-year-old Indigenous coverage rate is now at 89.51 per cent, up from 89.10 per cent since June
  • The national coverage rate for Indigenous five year olds has increased by more than a percentage point over the last two years to 97.05 per

At 97.05 per cent, coverage for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander five year olds is actually higher than for all five year olds at 94.82 per cent – just short of the 95 per cent target for providing ‘herd immunity’ for highly infectious diseases such as measles.

The Federal Government’s message to protect children from disease with lifesaving vaccines is reaching more parents, and our public health campaigns and immunisation programs are protecting more Australians.

Immunisation saves and protects lives.

Australia has world-leading vaccination rates for children, well above the global vaccination coverage of 85 per cent.

The latest figures show the Government’s No Jab, No Pay policy on childcare benefits, and the $20 million Get the Facts Childhood Immunisation Education Campaign, are working.

Phase three of the Campaign delivered a public relations strategy specifically focused on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents of children aged from birth to five years.

It also targeted Aboriginal Medical Services, which are a trusted source of information for parents, particularly in regional and remote communities.

Each year, the Federal Government invests more than $400 million in the National Immunisation Program to protect Australians of all ages against disease.

Immunisation is the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases. Australia’s immunisation services, programs and policies lead the world, and this is reflected in our low incidence of vaccine preventable disease.

Full details of the latest immunisation coverage rates are available at:

About vaccines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are able to get extra immunisations for free through the National Immunisation Program (NIP) to protect you against serious diseases.

These extra immunisations are in addition to all the other routine vaccinations offered throughout life (childrenadultsseniorspregnancy).

Children aged 5 years old or under

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5 years or under should receive all routine vaccines under the NIP. You can see a list of these vaccines on the Immunisation for children page.

The Australian Government recommends that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5 years or under have the following additional vaccines.

Pneumococcal disease

An additional booster dose of pneumococcal vaccine is recommended between the ages of 12 and 18 months for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in:

  • Queensland
  • Northern Territory
  • Western Australia
  • South Australia.

Visit the Pneumococcal immunisation service page for information on receiving the pneumococcal vaccine.

Hepatitis A

Two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine are given 6 months apart. These doses should be given from 12 months of age for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in:

  • Queensland
  • Northern Territory
  • Western Australia
  • South Australia.

The age that both the hepatitis A and pneumococcal vaccines are given varies among the 4 states and territories. Speak to your state or territory health service for more information.

Visit the Hepatitis A immunisation service page for information on receiving the hepatitis A vaccine.

Influenza

The influenza vaccine is free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over through the NIP.

Visit the influenza immunisation service page for information on receiving the influenza vaccine.

Children aged 5 to 9 years old

Influenza

The influenza vaccine is free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over through the NIP.

Visit the influenza immunisation service page for information on receiving the influenza vaccine.

Catch-up vaccines

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 5 to 9 years should receive any missed routine childhood vaccinations. Catch-up vaccines are free through the NIP. See the NIP Schedule for more information.

Children aged 10 to 15 years

Influenza

The influenza vaccine is free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over through the NIP.

Visit the influenza immunisation service page for information on receiving the influenza vaccine.

Catch-up vaccines

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 10 to 15 years old should receive any missed routine childhood vaccinations. Catch-up vaccines are free through the NIP. See the NIP Schedule for more information.

Other vaccines

All children should receive routine vaccines for children aged 10 to 15 years old. These are HPV (human papillomavirus) and diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis), meningococcal ACWY vaccines given through school immunisation programs.

People aged 15 to 49 years old

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 to 19 years old should receive any missed routine childhood vaccinations. Catch-up vaccines are free through the NIP. See the NIP Schedule for more information.

Influenza

The influenza vaccine is free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over through the NIP.

Visit the influenza immunisation service page for information on receiving the influenza vaccine.

Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal vaccines are free for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 to 49 years old who are at high risk of severe pneumococcal disease.

Visit the Pneumococcal immunisation service page for information on receiving the pneumococcal vaccine.

People aged 50 years old or more

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years old or more should receive any missed routine childhood vaccinations. Catch-up vaccines are free through the NIP. See the NIP Schedule for more information.

Pneumococcal disease

Pneumococcal vaccines are free for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years old or over.

Visit the Pneumococcal immunisation service page for information on receiving the pneumococcal vaccine.

Influenza

The influenza vaccine is free for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over through the NIP.

Visit the influenza immunisation service page for information on receiving the influenza vaccine.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Youth Health News #OwningFutureChange : Download @AusAAH Report : Health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people : Plus The Imagination Declaration 2019 Garma festival’s youth forum

 ” Identity and connection to family and Aboriginal ways of knowing, doing and being are at the core of what it is to be an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person.

A large proportion of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are young and signify an opportunity for harnessing their energy and ideas to prevent poor health and social conditions.

While many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people lead healthy and safe lives, there is still a conscious journey required to ensure a strong connection to identity and culture that supports overall health, wellbeing and self-determination.

Identity is also informed by many other factors including gender, sexuality, disabilities, social and emotional wellbeing, location and mobility, and socioeconomic status.

For young people impacted by trauma, systemic racism and inequity, there can be lasting effects on identity, connection to culture, health and wellbeing (Atkinson, 2013).

The impact of intergenerational trauma is often overlooked by mainstream health services attempting to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

Intergenerational or historical trauma is a transference of trauma among families and communities, which is ‘the subjective experiencing and remembering of events in the mind of an individual or the life of a community, passed from adults to children in cyclic processes’ (Atkinson, 2013, p. 4).

While there are commonalities in factors important to attaining good health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, it is important to also acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia are diverse and represent over 200 nations each with their own history, cultures and norms.

Further, young people have unique talents and strengths, have different social and cultural capital and have had varying experiences with health and the health system. “

Preface to Young persons position paper ” See extracts and recommendations below or 

Download full report

The_Health_and_Wellbeing_of_Aboriginal_and_Torres_Strait_Islander_Young_Peoples_PositionPaper_FINAL

Photo above from AAAH Website

Read over 400 Aboriginal Youth / Children’s articles published by NACCHO over the past 7 years

 ” Following the ‘Uluru Statement From The Heart’, in 2019, a group of young Indigenous people have gathered in East Arnhem Land for the Youth Forum at Garma. The forum has been facilitated by AIME and resulted in a Declaration for the Prime Minister and Education Minister’s across Australia – The Imagination Declaration.” see Part 2 below 

This message was read out by Sienna on August 5, 10:00am at the 2019 Garma festival.

Health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people

The Constitution of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (2011) describes health as “not just the physical well-being of an individual but refers to the social, emotional and cultural well-being of the whole Community in which each individual is able to achieve their full potential as a human being thereby bringing about the total well-being of their Community.

It is a whole of life view and includes the cyclical concept of life-death-life”.

View presentations from the recent NACCHO Youth Conference in Darwin 

Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is young, with 241,824 people between the ages of 10-24 years in 2016, which represents 5% of the Australian population of young people (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018a).

Adolescence, defined in western bio-medical terms as the life stage between age 10 and 24 years, is a period of self-discovery and growth when important biological, social and emotional changes take place which can have a long-lasting impact on future health and well-being. Information and practices to support youth life stage development from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective are not currently in use; these types of cultural knowledges and practices were forbidden under past government policy, which has excluded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from decision making about policies to protect health and bring about health and social equity.

Currently, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people have disproportionately high rates of largely preventable causes of morbidity and mortality which include: injuries, mental health and sexual and reproductive health (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018a; Azzopardi et al., 2018).

In 2011, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people aged 10–24 years, the leading contributors to the disease burden were suicide and self-inflicted injuries (13%), anxiety disorders (8%), alcohol use disorders (7%) and road traffic injuries (6%) (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018a).

Incarceration and child removal rates continue to be disproportionately high. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people are over-represented at all stages of the child protection system, out of home care (OOHC) and are under-represented in services that could subvert this (SNAICC, 2018).

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle (ACPP) aims to prioritise carers who are from the young person’s family in the first instance, or from the young person’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community, or alternatively are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers, however in practice this is not always enacted (Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2019).

The ‘Family is Culture Review’ cautions that “the ACPP is not simply a hierarchy of options for the physical placement of an Aboriginal child in OOHC. The ACPP is one broad principle made up of five elements that are aimed at enhancing and preserving Aboriginal children’s sense of identity, as well as their connection to their culture, heritage, family and community” (Davis, 2019).

These five elements include prevention, partnership, placement, participation and connection (Davis, 2019).

Further, though it varies by state and territory, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are markedly over-represented in the youth justice system and in detention; all children in the Northern Territory juvenile detention system are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019).

Young people who have been in youth detention are at greater risk of mental health disorders, and are more likely to experience homelessness and substance use issues (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2016). Furthermore, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people who are in OOHC are over-represented in the youth justice system and this is a key driver of adult incarceration (Davis, 2019; Sentencing Advisory Council, 2019).

Forced separation either through OOHC or incarceration of young people (or members of their family) can have lifelong consequences for young peoples’ connection to family, Community, culture and Country. Further, transitions from OOHC as an adult or from detention back to Community can be very difficult for young adults.

In terms of social and emotional wellbeing, a majority (76%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people aged 15-24 years report being happy all or most of the time in the past 4 weeks (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018a).

However, it is important to note that nationally, one third of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people aged 15-24 report high to very high levels of psychological distress (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018a).

Not being able to find a job has been reported as the most common stressor (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018a). Importantly, it has also been found that having a carer with a greater number of stressful life events was associated with poorer mental health among adolescents (Williamson et al., 2016).

A study in New South Wales found that greater resilience among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people was associated with: having someone to talk to, family encouragement to attend school and engaging in physical activity (Young, Craig, Clapham, Banks, & Williamson, 2019).

The social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, learn and work, which have a profound impact on health and wellbeing across the life course1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are diverse in their social, cultural, economic and physical living situations; however the social determinants of health are responsible for approximately 39 % of the health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018b).

Housing, education, access to income, economic resources and employment are key determinants that influence the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people during adolescence and their life trajectories thereafter. These social and environmental determinants affect the health of young people living in cities and urban areas as well as those in remote areas (Andersen, Skinner, Williamson, Fernando, & Wright, 2018).

Furthermore, racism is a determinant of health, which has been associated with poor physical and mental health outcomes and increased risk for suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

While the aforementioned social determinants of health are relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it is imperative to consider Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander positive social determinants of health.

Some positive determinants of health include oral history, cultural survival, family support and connection, emotional wellbeing, community control, self-determination and affirmation of cultural practices (AbSec, 2019; Vickery, Faulkhead, Adams, & Clarke, 2007).

The formative years of adolescence are an important period for reducing inequities, promoting health, wellbeing and better access to health services to improve the current and future health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The AAAH acknowledges

  1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are the experts in their own health and have agency in their health and health
  2. The importance of cultural, familial and kinship connections between young people today with past, present and emerging generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples regarding health, wellbeing and
  3. Western pre-conceived notions of family units impact young people’s equitable access to services and culturally safe
  4. The ongoing role of colonisation, dispossession, racial discrimination and marginalisation in creating the economic and social disparity experienced by so many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young
  5. Historical trauma, intergenerational trauma and racism are determinants of health and wellbeing, which are not adequately understood or addressed across multiple sectors, including the health
  6. Positive determinants of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing include oral history, cultural survival, family support and connection, emotional wellbeing, community control, self-determination and affirmation and respect of cultural practices and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing and
  7. The social determinants of health are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources; addressing these determinants requires political will and coordinated action in sectors beyond the health
  8. That the health sector needs to consider:
    1. Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people have unmet health needs that reflect issues of inequity and inadequate access to appropriate services; these issues may be compounded for young people with intersecting identities due to greater discrimination and
    2. The importance of health services to be culturally safe, trauma-informed and responsive to the needs of young people and to local histories, needs and
    3. The Aboriginal community-controlled health sector are the leaders in providing culturally safe, holistic, accessible health care for communities, families and young people.
    4. The right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to have access to health-enablers beyond health care, employment and education, including frequently overlooked health enablers like safe and legal transport, and stable, safe and affordable
  9. The impact of forced separation from family and Community through OOHC and incarceration, including disconnection from Country and
  10. The following issues related to research and data:
    1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a right to data sovereignty and self- determination, which is “the right of Indigenous peoples to govern the collection, ownership and application of data about Indigenous communities, peoples, lands, and resources” (Bodkin-Andrews, Walter, Lee, Kukutai, & Lovett, 2019).
    2. Much of the research that drives policy and service provision is grounded in Western notions of empiricism rather than Indigenous knowledge systems and research methods.
    3. Risk and vulnerability are frequently (mis)used to account for health disparities without adequate consideration of social and structural inequalities created by racist policies and
    4. The limitations of existing data and statistical modelling to adequately capture and represent:
      1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ experiences of health and wellbeing
      2. The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living well and enjoying healthy
    5. The importance of emphasising the National Health and Medical Research Council’s ethical principles in underpinning ways of working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young peoples: Spirit and integrity, respect, reciprocity, equality, survival and protection, responsibility.

 

The AAAH recommendations

1.Our work with and for young people is guided by The Imagination Declaration written by young people and read at the 2019 Garma festival’s youth forum:

“set an imagination agenda for our classrooms, remove the limited thinking around our disadvantage, stop looking at us as a problem to fix, set us free to be the solution and give us the stage to light up the world.”

2.Principles to be guided by

    1. Connection to culture, Country and family is recognised as a determinant of health and wellbeing in its full
    2. Listening to the solutions that communities, families and young people already have
    3. Young people are recognised as the future leaders in determining priorities, aspirations and directions for their health and
    4. Policy, services, practitioners and researchers centre on young people, their views and their
    5. A rights-based approach to health enabling infrastructure to fulfil the right of young people to safe and legal transport, housing, education and culturally safe services. Health professionals, educators and researchers are in a powerful position to advocate for this and to highlight the costs (human, health, social and financial) of failing to ensure these issues are
    6. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ experiences and understandings of family are recognised, including the importance of support from extended family and community networks for young people’s health and wellbeing, which should be incorporated into policies, programs and service delivery
    7. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will lead the discourse on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health and wellbeing to ensure decolonisation and self- determination.
    8. The responsibility to be informed and enact understanding of Australia’s history, including the legacy of colonisation, must be met by individuals, organisations, communities and governments.
    9. Investment in promoting cultural and historical knowledge to the broader community beyond schools and workplaces across

3.Health sector

      1. There is much that can and should be done to improve the likelihood that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people will access high quality culturally safe care. This means that both community owned and youth friendly health services are accessible to young
      2. The Aboriginal community-controlled health sector is recognised for leadership and expertise and this is reflected in appropriate indicators that reflect culturally safe and holistic health care
      3. The funding of Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations should be long term and sustainable. Wherever possible, funds for the provision of health care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be administered through Aboriginal Community Controlled health
      4. Access to timely, appropriate, high quality, culturally safe care within mainstream services including hospitals, allied health, community health, residential treatment facilities and non-government organisations – this means that services recognise that safety for young people is an ongoing process, and that the workforce is accountable for ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people receive the highest quality care that is culturally safe and free from
      5. An intersectoral approach is essential to good health and requires:
        1. Policy that recognises the social determinants of health and shapes investment in incentivised collaborative
        2. Holistic funding models that prioritise community led services and long-term investment.
  • Shared mutual understanding that centres on the needs of young people rather than prioritising competing
  1. Out of Home Care
    1. Addressing over-representation in OOHC is a priority and requires:
      1. Commitment to early intervention and prevention of child
      2. Investing in families through community led, holistic services that strengthen families and connections to
    2. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle to be
    3. The AbSec – NSW Child, Family and Community Peak Aboriginal Corporation Plan on a Page for Aboriginal children and young people strategy provides a blueprint for reform to better meet the needs of young people, families and communities and address over-representation in
    4. The Family is Culture: Review Report 2019, provides insight into and recommendations of how to restructure the OOHC system to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and
  2. Youth justice
    1. Ending over-representation in the youth justice system is a priority and requires:
      1. Investment in youth friendly diversion programs that are community led, including justice reinvestment
      2. Addressing social determinants that are drivers for contact with the youth justice system, including issues of trauma, mental health, early transition from school, unemployment, homelessness and substance
  • Action on inequitable policies that contribute to contact with the youth justice system, including fines enforcement and driver licensing
  1. Research and data
    1. Current conversations around self-determination and data sovereignty should be broadened to specifically include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people; this is not limited to health and medical data and includes multiple and vast digital footprints as well as lived experience and knowledge of young people and communities.
    2. Move beyond reporting of difference, deficit and disadvantage by developing meaningful indicators of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ experiences of health and
    3. Research is grounded in First Nations knowledge systems and Indigenous research methods.
  2. Advocating for reforms outlined in the Uluru Statement From the Heart and for a constitutional voice in

Following the ‘Uluru Statement From The Heart’, in 2019, a group of young Indigenous people have gathered in East Arnhem Land for the Youth Forum at Garma. The forum has been facilitated by AIME and resulted in a Declaration for the Prime Minister and Education Minister’s across Australia – The Imagination Declaration.

This message was read out by Sienna on August 5, 10:00am at the 2019 Garma festival.

To the Prime Minister & Education Ministers across Australia,

In 1967, we asked to be counted.

In 2017, we asked for a voice and treaty.

Today, we ask you to imagine what’s possible.

The future of this country lies in all of our hands.

We do not want to inherit a world that is in pain. We do not want to stare down huge inequality feeling powerless to our fate. We do not want to be unarmed as we confront some of the biggest problems faced by the human race, from rising sea levels, which will lead to significant refugee challenges, to droughts and food shortages, and our own challenges around a cycle of perpetuated disadvantaged.

It’s time to think differently.

With 60,000 years of genius and imagination in our hearts and minds, we can be one of the groups of people that transform the future of life on earth, for the good of us all.

We can design the solutions that lift islands up in the face of rising seas, we can work on creative agricultural solutions that are in sync with our natural habitat, we can re-engineer schooling, we can invent new jobs and technologies, and we can unite around kindness.

We are not the problem, we are the solution.

We don’t want to be boxed.

We don’t want ceilings.

We want freedom to be whatever a human mind can dream.

When you think of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kid, or in fact, any kid, imagine what’s possible. Don’t define us through the lens of disadvantage or label us as limited.

Test us.

Expect the best of us.

Expect the unexpected.

Expect us to continue carrying the custodianship of imagination, entrepreneurial spirit and genius.

Expect us to be complex.

And then let us spread our wings, and soar higher than ever before.

We call on you and the Education Ministers across the nation to establish an imagination agenda for our Indigenous kids and, in fact, for all Australian children.

We urge you to give us the freedom to write a new story.

We want to show the world Aboriginal genius.

We want to show the nation Aboriginal leadership and imagination.

Over the coming months we’ll be sharing the declaration with thousands of Indigenous kids across our nation and together we’ll stand to say, “set an imagination agenda for our classrooms, remove the limited thinking around our disadvantage, stop looking at us as a problem to fix, set us free to be the solution and give us the stage to light up the world.”

We want the Imagination agenda in every school in the nation, from early childhood learning centres through to our most prominent universities.

To our Prime Minister & Education Ministers, we call on you to meet with us and to work on an imagination plan for our country’s education system, for all of us.

We are not the problem, we are the solution.

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Children’s Health News : Read @June_Oscar #strongcommunitiesnsw @AbSecNSW Speech plus Download the 56 page @AusHumanRights National Scorecard assessing outcomes for children rights across Australia.

“While most Australian children live in safe, healthy environments and do well, there are some groups whose rights are not well protected, which impacts negatively on their wellbeing and ability to thrive.

This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children with disability, children in care, children in rural and remote locations, those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and LGBTI children,”.

AHRC National Children’s Commissioner, Megan Mitchell this week released a scorecard assessing outcomes for children rights across Australia. See AHRC Press Release Part 1 Below

Download the Scorecard HERE

ahrc_childrensrights_scorecard2019

“ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continue to face significant disadvantage across a range of domains relevant to their rights and wellbeing, including in health and education, discrimination, exposure to family violence, and overrepresentation in child protection and youth justice systems.

This overall disadvantage has roots in past government policies and practices, and the continued legacy of intergenerational trauma and disadvantage that these policies created. “

Current issues in the area of Aboriginal Children’s Health health see Part 2 Below or Page 23 of report

Read over 370 Aboriginal children’s health  articles published by NACCHO over past 7 years

The removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families is one of Australia’s most serious human rights concerns,

“Of the 99 deaths in custody investigated in 1991 in the Royal Commission into Deaths in Custody, it was found that almost half had previously been removed from their parents. We have to call out these systemic failings, where the overrepresentation of children in care, driven and compounded by poverty, makes unimaginable crisis all the more likely in our communities.”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children removed from their families and placed in out-of-home care are 16 times more likely to be in youth justice supervision than those who are not. “

In a powerful speech on November 20, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar called for government at all levels in Australia to “flip the system from crisis to prevention investment”.

The keynote speech, delivered at the AbSec Biennial Conference, draws attention to the direct and cyclical link between high rates of removal of Indigenous children into out-of-home care and poor outcomes for Indigenous communities across Australia. See Part 3 below 

Part 1 AHRC Press Release

One of the scorecard’s most significant recommendations is to raise the age of criminal responsibility. It makes clear there is no good rationale for detaining children under the age of 14, in any form of detention.

“All Australian governments need to recommit to the principle of child detention as a measure of last resort, because placing children behind bars amounts to taking away their childhood and disrupting their healthy development. It makes them more likely to go on and reoffend,” said Commissioner Mitchell.

The age of criminal responsibility in Australia is ten, which is low compared to many other countries, and the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has recommended all countries increase the minimum age of criminal responsibility to at least 14 years.

“While most Australian children live in safe, healthy environments and do well, there are some groups whose rights are not well protected, which impacts negatively on their wellbeing and ability to thrive. This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, children with disability, children in care, children in rural and remote locations, those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and LGBTI children,” said Commissioner Mitchell.

Mental health outcomes for Australian children are concerning, with suicide the leading cause of death for children aged 5–17 in 2017 and 35,997 hospitalisations for intentional self- harm in the ten years to 2017.

“There is a national shortage of mental health services and more needs to be done to care for the mental health and emotional wellbeing of young people and much earlier in their lives,” Commissioner Mitchell said.

The scorecard calls on the Federal Government to develop a National Plan for Child Wellbeing and to appoint a Cabinet level Minister with responsibility for driving children’s issues at the national level.

The scorecard also addresses children’s rights in relation to immigration detention and  the impact of climate change on children’s rights, health and an adequate standard of living.

Mikiko Otani, a member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child presented the scorecard at a conference at Melbourne University on November 20 .

It coincides with the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Part 2

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continue to face significant disadvantage across a range of domains relevant to their rights and wellbeing, including in health and education, discrimination, exposure to family violence, and overrepresentation in child protection and youth justice systems. This overall disadvantage has roots in past government policies and practices, and the continued legacy of intergenerational trauma and disadvantage that these policies created.[i]

Current issues in the area of health include:

  • There are major gaps in data on important health issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.[ii]
  • Since the Closing the Gap target baseline was set in 2008, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child mortality rates have declined by 10%.[iii] However, the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and non-Indigenous children has not narrowed, because the non-Indigenous rate has declined at a faster rate.[iv]
  • Ear disease is a significant health issue facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
  • In 2012–13, 30% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 2–14 were overweight or obese, compared with 25% of their non-Indigenous counterparts.[v]
  • The likelihood of probable serious mental illness has been found to be consistently higher among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children compared to their non-Indigenous peers.[vi]
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 4–17 accounted for 19.2% of all child deaths due to suicide between 2007–15. [vii]
  • The levels of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in children, especially those from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, are concerning.

Numerous studies confirm the negative impact of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ experiences of racial discrimination, including institutional racism.[viii] Settings that were identified as places of concern include employment, education, shops, public spaces and sport, health and justice.[ix]

Data on hospitalised injury among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people between 2011–12 and 2015–16 show the most commonly reported perpetrator of assaults on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples was a family member.[x]

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continue to be significantly overrepresented in Australia’s child protection systems.[xi] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are subject to care and protection orders at ten times the rate of non-Indigenous children.[xii] The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who were subject to care and protection orders has steadily risen from 15,500 in 2014 to 20,500 in 2018.[xiii]

School attendance, literacy and numeracy outcomes did not meet the Closing the Gap targets for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children set by the Australian Government for 2018.[xiv] However, targets to halve the gap in Year 12 attainment or equivalent by 2020 and to have 95% of Indigenous four-year-olds enrolled in early childhood education by 2025 are on track.[xv]

One in ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported speaking an Australian Indigenous language at home in the 2016 Census.[xvi]

While the National Curriculum for schools includes a framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, there is no national approach and the programs implemented in schools vary greatly across jurisdictions.

Current issues in the area of youth justice include:

  • While around 5% of children aged 10–17 in Australia are from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background, half (49%) of the children under youth justice supervision on an average day in 2017–18 were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.[xvii]
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are overrepresented in both detention and community-based supervision at all ages but are particularly overrepresented in the younger age groups.
  • Children placed in out-of-home care are 16 times more likely than children in the general population to be under youth justice supervision in the same year.[xviii] This risk increases when the child is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.[xix]

Part 3 : In a powerful speech on November 20, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar called for government at all levels in Australia to “flip the system from crisis to prevention investment”.

The keynote speech, delivered at the AbSec Biennial Conference, draws attention to the direct and cyclical link between high rates of removal of Indigenous children into out-of-home care and poor outcomes for Indigenous communities across Australia.

“The removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families is one of Australia’s most serious human rights concerns,” said Commissioner June Oscar.

“Of the 99 deaths in custody investigated in 1991 in the Royal Commission into Deaths in Custody, it was found that almost half had previously been removed from their parents. We have to call out these systemic failings, where the overrepresentation of children in care, driven and compounded by poverty, makes unimaginable crisis all the more likely in our communities.”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children removed from their families and placed in out-of-home care are 16 times more likely to be in youth justice supervision than those who are not.

“If we fail to change the course, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care will more than triple over the next 20 years,” said Commissioner June Oscar.

“The numbers must be reversed. For this to happen we have to know the lives, the stories and histories that sit behind the statistics. This data cannot remain faceless it has to be told through our words and our experiences, our strengths and resilience, and our hope commitment and determination for a different future.

“A system that is siloed, operating free of our lived realities and contexts, segments our families across service sectors and institutions. When it comes to the protection, care and support of our children this approach is disastrous as there is limited focus on the systemic interconnected issues that need to be resolved for children to remain at home, and the vital supports that our parents and families need to keep children with them.

“For this to happen, Governments at all levels must change ways of working so that processes, policies, programs and services are community-led, strengths-based and trauma-informed.

“To effectively respond to the systemic issues we have to break the cycle of inequality and interventions.

“Changing this system is the responsibility of all Australians. Insisting that governments invest in prevention is about developing a national narrative of equality where everyone is given the best start in life and has the chance to succeed. To be all of who they are without fear of being dispossessed, taken away, condemned and discriminated against.

“The Australia we want is one that embraces, includes and celebrates our diversity. That is the society our children have belonged to since time began and it is the Australia they deserve and have a right to.”

You can read the full text of Commissioner June Oscar’s speech to the AbSec Biennale Conference here

NACCHO Aboriginal Health Conferences and Events #Saveadate : Today 29 Oct @strokefdn #WorldStrokeDay Plus Closing dates #PuggyHunter Scholarship #ClosingtheGap #HaveYourSayCTG survey and @UniversitySA Healthy New Born Projects survey

This weeks feature 

29 October World Stroke Day

Next month 

4 November Applications close for the Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme 

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

8 November  Survey Closes  : Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people #HaveYourSay about #closingthegap

14 December Rural/Remote clinicians required for antenatal ultrasound-needs analysis survey

29 October World Stroke Day

 “On World Stroke Day we are urging all the mob to take steps to reduce their stroke risk

 Australian National University research, found around one-third to a half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their 40s, 50s and 60s were at high risk of future heart attack or stroke. It also found risk increased substantially with age and starts earlier than previously thought, with high levels of risk were occurring in people younger than 35.

The good news is more than 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.

As a first step, I encourage all the mob to visit to visit one of our 302 ACCHO clinics , their local GP or community health centre for a health check, or take advantage of a free digital health check at your local pharmacy to learn more about your stroke risk factors.” 

Colin Cowell NACCHO Social Media editor and himself a stroke survivor 4 years ago today

Read over 110 Aboriginal health and stroke articles published by NACCHO over past 7 years 

 The current guidelines recommend that a stroke risk screening be provided for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people over 35 years of age. However there is an argument to introduce that screening at a younger age.

Education is required to assist all Australians to understand what a stroke is, how to reduce the risk of stroke and the importance be fast acting at the first sign of stroke.”

Dr Mark Wenitong, Public Health Medical Advisor at Apunipima Cape York Health Council (Apunipima), says that strokes can be prevented through a healthy lifestyle and Health screening, 

Picture Above Naomi Wenitong  pictured above with her father Dr Mark Wenitong Public Health Officer at  Apunipima Cape York Health Council  in Cairns:

Share the stroke rap with your family and friends on social media and celebrate World Stroke Week in your community.

Listen to the new rap song HERE  

The song, written by Cairns speech pathologist Rukmani Rusch and performed by leading Indigenous artist Naomi Wenitong, was created to boost low levels of stroke awareness in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said the rap packed a punch, delivering an important message, in a fun and accessible way.

“The Stroke Rap has a powerful message we all need to hear,’’ Ms McGowan said.

“Too many Australians continue to lose their lives to stroke each year when most strokes can be prevented.

“Music is a powerful tool for change and we hope that people will listen to the song, remember and act on its stroke awareness and prevention message – it could save their life.”

Ms McGowan said the song’s message was particularly important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who were over represented in stroke statistics.

The Australian National Stroke Foundation promotes the FAST tool as a quick way for anyone to identify a possible stroke. FAST consists of the following simple steps:

Face – has their mouth has dropped on one side?

Arm – can they lift both arms?

Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

Time – is critical. Call an ambulance.

But the good news is more than 80 percent of strokes can be prevented.

4 November Applications close for the Puggy Hunter Memorial Scholarship Scheme !

This scholarship provides financial assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are intending to enrol or are currently enrolled in an eligible health-related course at an Australian educational institution.

Eligible health areas include:

•             Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health workers and practitioners

•             Allied health (excluding pharmacy)

•             Dentistry/oral health (excluding dental assistants)

•             Direct entry midwifery

•             Medicine

•             Nursing

Examples of eligible study areas.

This scholarship is for entry level or graduate entry level courses only. Funding is not available for postgraduate study. Scholarships are valued up to $15,000 per year for the normal duration of the course. Further information, including eligibility and selection criteria can be found our website.

Applications close Monday 4 November 2019

4 November NACCHO Youth Conference -Darwin NT

Monday 4th November 2019 NACCHO Youth Conference 

The central focus of the NACCHO Youth Conference Healthy youth, healthy future is on building resilience.

Download the AGENDA 

For thousands of years our Ancestors have shown great resolve thriving on this vast continent. Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who make up 54% of our population, now look to the example set by generations past and present to navigate ever-changing and complex social and health issues.

Healthy youth, healthy future provides us with opportunities to explore and discuss issues of importance to us, our families and communities, and to take further steps toward becoming tomorrow’s leaders. We hope to see you there!

Registrations are now closed for the 2019 NACCHO Youth Conference, which will be held November 4th in Darwin at the Darwin Convention Centre.

5 – 7 November NACCHO Conference and AGM  -Darwin NT

Tuesday 5th & Wednesday 6th November 2019 Members Conference now closed 

7th November 2019 NACCHO AGM

This year, NACCHO’s Members’ Conference focuses on the theme –

Because of them we must: improving health outcomes for our people aged 0-29 years.

Download the AGENDA Here

We have chosen this focus because we know that investing in the health and wellbeing of our babies, children and young people can help prevent ill health, disease and disability. Strong investment in this age group will help them to thrive, help them build strong and healthy families and communities, and help to positively influence their future health outcomes and life expectancy measures.

Because of them we must provides an opportunity to place our future generations at the forefront of our discussions, to hear about the innovative work that is happening in our community controlled and other sectors, to exchange ideas and share our knowledge.

If you have any questions or would like further information contact Ros Daley and Jen Toohey on 02 6246 9309 or via email conference@naccho.org.au

Conference Co-Coordinators Ros Daley and Jen Toohey 02 6246 9309

7 November

On Thursday 7 November, following the NACCHO National Members Conference, we will hold the 2019 AGM. In addition to the general business, there will be an election for the NACCHO Chair and a vote on a special resolution to adopt a new constitution for NACCHO.

Once again, I thank all those members who sent delegates to the recent national members’ workshop on a new constitution at Sydney in July. It was a great success thanks to your involvement and feedback.

8 November  Survey Closes  : Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people #HaveYourSay about #closingthegap

There is a discussion booklet that has background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be talked about in the survey.

The survey will take a little bit of time to complete. It would be great if you can answer all the questions, but you can also just focus on the issues that you care about most.

To help you prepare your answers, you can look at a full copy here

The survey is open to everyone and can be accessed here:

https://www.naccho.org.au/programmes/coalition-of-peaks/have-your-say/

The Coalition of Peaks are leading face to face meetings with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and organisations on Closing the Gap during the month of October.

The meetings provide an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in each state and territory to tell the Coalition of Peaks and governments what changes are needed to improve their lives

October Engagement Meetings:

 

South Australia

2 October – Adelaide Closed

15 October – Ceduna Closed

18 October – Port Augusta Cllosed

23 October – Mount Gambier

 

Tasmania

11 October – Launceston Closed

 

Western Australia

14 October – Broome Closed

17 October – Geraldton Closed

21 October – Kalgoorlie Closed

23 October – Port Headland Closed

28 October – Perth Closed

30 October – Narrogin Closed

 

Australian Capital Territory

17 October – Canberra Closed

28 October – Canberra

 

Victoria15 October – Melbourne Closed

16 October – Bendigo Closed

17 October – Morwell Closed

 

New South Wales

21 October – Sydney Closed

 

Northern Territory

4 October – Katherine Closed

11 October – Yirrkala Closed

30 October – Darwin

 

National

23 and 24 October – Canberra Closed

 

VIC Update

There were three meetings held across Victoria, details are below.

Website RSVP 

NSW Update 

The NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations (CAPO) of which NSW Aboriginal Land Council is a member, are leading the Closing the Gap engagements across the state.

28 consultations will be taking place during the month of October and early November. The consultations are an opportunity for communities to have their say on Closing the Gap.

The 2019 Closing the Gap consultation will see a new way of doing business, with a focus on community consultations. NSW is embarking on the largest number of membership consultations, more than any other state or territory, with an emphasis on hearing your views about what is needed to make the lives of Aboriginal people better.

Your voices will formulate the NSW submission to the new National Agreement. By talking to Aboriginal people, communities and organisations, CAPO can form a consensus on priority areas from NSW when finalising the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap with governments.

The discussion booklet: ‘A new way of doing business’ provides background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be discussed at the consultations.

The consultations are being supported by the NSW Government.

Come along and join in the conversation. The dates and locations are:

Route 5
Broken Hill Tuesday 29th Oct
Wilcannia Wednesday 30th Oct
Menindee Thursday 31st Oct
Dareton Friday 1st Nov

Route 6
Lismore Monday 28th Oct
Coffs Harbour Tuesday 29th Oct
Kempsey Wednesday 30th Oct

Route 7
Redfern Monday 4th Nov
Mount Druitt Tuesday 5th Nov
Bathurst Thursday 7th Nov

Route 8
Moree Tuesday 5th Nov
Walgett Wednesday 6th Nov

To register your attendance at Routes 1 and 2, please do so via Eventbrite:

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/o/nsw-coalition-of-aboriginal-peak-organisations-16575398239.

Consultations will run from 11am – 3pm with lunch provided.

If you are unable to make the consultations, you can still have your say through an online survey.

For more information on the Closing the Gap consultations: https://www.aecg.nsw.edu.au/close-the-gap/

Each jurisdiction has structured the events differently, some opting for fewer large events and some opting for a larger number of smaller events.

For more information on The Coalition of Peaks, The Joint Council,

The Partnership Agreement and to sign up for our mailing list, go to: https://www.naccho.org.au/ programmes/coalition-of-peaks/

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #FamilyMatters Report 2019 Download : The crisis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being over-represented in the child protection systems continues to escalate at an alarming rate.

“If we do not change our course of action the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care will more than double in the next 10 years.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are seven times more likely to be on a permanent care order until 18 years. They are at serious risk of permanent separation from their families, cultures and communities.

The trauma associated with child removal is intergenerational.

It affects a person’s functioning in the world, has an adverse impact on family relationships and creates vulnerability in families.

Healing is an important part of reclaiming the resilience we need to deal with life’s challenges and address the burden of trauma in our communities,”

Family Matters Co-Chair Richard Weston.

The crisis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being over-represented in the child protection systems continues to escalate at an alarming rate, reveals The Family Matters Report 2019

The report also shows a growing trend towards permanent placement away from their families and that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continue to experience high levels of disadvantage.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 37.3% of the total out-of-home care population, including foster care, but only 5.5% of the total population of children.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are now 10.2 times more likely to be removed from their families than non-Indigenous children.

The decreasing rate of placement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with Indigenous carers dropped from 49.4% to 45% in a year and has declined from 65.3% in 2006.

The Family Matters Report 2019 also reveals poverty and homelessness has a profound impact on children being removed from their home.

Nearly one in three Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are living below the poverty line. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander householders are almost twice as likely to experience rental stress.

“Household income and access to safe and healthy housing have a substantial impact on the capacity of families to provide safe and supportive care for children,” says Family Matters Co-Chair Natalie Lewis.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children experience disadvantage across a range of early childhood areas, are more likely to be developmentally delayed at the age of five and attend childcare services at half the rate of non-Indigenous children.

“We stress the need for an increased investment in prevention and early intervention to redress the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of- home care. Consistently, more funding is invested in child protection services than support services,” says Ms Lewis.

The Family Matters Report 2019 calls for:

  1. A national comprehensive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s strategy that includes generational targets to eliminate over-representation and address the causes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child
  2. Investment in quality Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled integrated early years services through a specific program with targets to increase coverage in areas of high Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population and high levels of
  3. Establishing state-based and national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s commissioners to enable improved government accountability and oversight.
  4. An end to legal orders for permanent care and adoption for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, replaced by a focus on supporting their connections to kin, culture and

Family Matters is Australia’s national campaign to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people grow up safe and cared for in family, community and culture. It aims to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 2040.

Family Matters – Strong communities. Strong culture. Stronger children. is led by SNAICC

– National Voice for our Children and a group of eminent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders from across the country. The campaign is supported by a Strategic Alliance of over 150 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous organisations.

Since 2016, the campaign has released an annual Family Matters report that examines how Australia is faring in improving the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Have your say about what is needed to make real change in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children  #HaveYourSay about #closingthegapCTG

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know what works best for us.

We need to make sure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth voices are reflected and expertise is recognised in every way at every step on efforts to close the gap in life outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.’

‘The Coalition of Peaks is leading the face to face discussions, not governments.

The Peaks are asking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth to tell us what should be included in a new Closing the Gap agreement and we will take this to the negotiating table.’

There is a discussion booklet that has background information on Closing the Gap and sets out what will be talked about in the survey.

The survey will take a little bit of time to complete. It would be great if you can answer all the questions, but you can also just focus on the issues that you care about most.

To help you prepare your answers, you can look at a full copy here

The survey is open to everyone and can be accessed here:

https://www.naccho.org.au/programmes/coalition-of-peaks/have-your-say/

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and #WorldHeartDay #ClosingTheGap : NACCHO and the @END_RHD Coalition highlights #RHD Rheumatic Heart Disease as a leading cause of cardiovascular inequality for our mob

“ With Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people being 122 times more likely to have RHD than other Australians, it has become a priority issue for us to confront. In some of our communities, the average age of death from RHD is just over 40 years of age.

These statistics alone speak to the urgency of increased comprehensive and collaborative action.

We want to put ourselves in the strongest position to end this disease over the coming decades.

NACCHO Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chair of END RHD , Ms Patricia Turner AM

Read / Download full NACCHO Press Release HERE

What causes Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD)? see Part 2 below

Photo above: In February 2019, NACCHO also welcomed an announcement from the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, Minister for Indigenous Australians, that saw the Federal Government commit $35 million over three years to support the creation of a vaccine that could end RHD in Australia.

Read NACCHO RHD articles HERE

You can find lots of #WorldHeartDay resources like printable factsheets & infographics, to help educate, inspire & motivate people in your community to keep their hearts healthy

Download these Resources HERE

Read over 80 Aboriginal Heart Health articles published by NACCHO over past 7 Years

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) is marking World Heart Day by raising awareness of the high prevalence of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Over 4,500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are living with the effects of acute rheumatic fever, the precursor to RHD, or have RHD. If action is not taken now it is estimated another 10,000 will have developed ARF or RHD by 2031.

NACCHO is a founding member of END RHD, an alliance of health, research and community organisations seeking to amplify efforts to end rheumatic heart disease in Australia through advocacy and engagement.

To affirm the continued effort by NACCHO and its members to eradicate this disease, NACCHO encourages all Australians to show their support by pledging their commitment to ending RHD on the END RHD website: https://endrhd.org.au/take-action/.

RHD can have devastating effects and is a form of permanent heart damage which results from a throat or skin infection caused by Strep A bacteria.

Although it is most commonly experienced by individuals living in developing countries, Australia has some of the highest rates of the disease in the world, occurring almost exclusively in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Full details of these 5 priorities HERE 

 

Part 2 What causes Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD)?

What causes Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD)?

When a child gets a group A streptococcal infection of the throat (known as strep throat), their body’s immune system, in trying to fight that infection, produces antibodies. Sometimes these antibodies, in addition to killing the strep, can damage their heart. Acute rheumatic fever can occur following an untreated strep throat infection and can cause irreparable damage to the major cardiac valves, known as rheumatic heart disease.

How common is RHD?

RHD is considered a third-world disease yet Australia has some of the highest rates in the world. About 3-5 per cent of Aboriginal people living in remote and rural areas have the condition. Children aged between 5 and 14 years are most likely to get rheumatic fever.

What are the risk factors of RHD?

Certain living conditions make streptococcal infections more likely. Known risk factors include poverty, overcrowding and limited access to medical care. It is thought that the bacteria may also enter the body through skin cuts and abrasions – so skin sores in a child should never be ignored.

What are the symptoms?

Damaged heart valves found in RHD mean the heart cannot work normally. Symptoms include heart murmur, chest pain, breathlessness, and swelling of face and legs. RHD can result in heart failure and premature death.

How is it diagnosed?

Rheumatic fever is not a straightforward diagnosis – there’s no single test but rather a checklist of symptoms, including heart inflammation, fever, painful joints and skin rash. Early diagnosis and taking preventative antibiotics can stop it developing into RHD. People with RHD require ongoing medical care, antibiotic treatment and possibly cardiac surgery.

The only effective way to stop rheumatic fever recurring is to have monthly penicillin injections, for 10 years or until the patient has turned 21.