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 Children’s Health #Familymatters : Aboriginal children removed by child protection system will triple, major new report warns

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We are deeply shocked by the projection of current trends showing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care will almost triple by 2035 – this is a stark warning that we need a new approach.”“The Family Matters campaign demands a COAG strategy to urgently address this national crisis.”– Gerry Moore, Family Matters Co-Chair

Download the Report here

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Launched today 9 November  at Parliament House in Canberra, the report highlights that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are almost 10 times more likely to be removed by child protection authorities than non-Indigenous children.

Right now, approximately 15,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are living away from their homes, too many separated from their families and culture.

Aboriginal children removed by child protection system will triple, major new report warns

This report revealed shocking results on the state of child protection in Australia for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children including:

  • Numbers of Indigenous children in the child protection system is set to triple (from 15,000 to 45,000) by 2035 should current trends continue.
  • Only 17% ($700 million) of overall child protection funding was invested in support services for children and their families, this means the bulk of spending is in reacting to problems ($3.5 billion) rather than solving them.
  • Only 66% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Australia were placed in accordance with the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle.
  • Poor performance by Western Australia with the highest rates of over-representation (16.2x) and the lowest investment in evidence based strategies for redress.
  • South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory also reflect particularly poorly against all these measures (9.2x and 13x rates of over-representation) respectively.
  • The Northern Territory (9.8x rate of over-representation) demonstrates a lack of engagement with evidence informed solutions to concerns around child neglect, abuse and removal.
  • Victoria features as a leading state in all areas except access to intensive family support services.

To address this national crisis the Family Matters coalition – a 150-strong contingent of prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, noted academics and other groups – is calling for a comprehensive national strategy to be adopted by state and federal governments.

Family Matters Co-Chair and CEO of SNAICC – National Voice for our Children, Gerry Moore, said the current approach from government was not targeting the root causes of the problem, which is growing rapidly. Just 17 per cent ($700 million) of overall child protection funding is spent on support services for families, he said, meaning the bulk ($3.5 billion) was being spent reacting to the problem, rather than preventing it.

The report also reveals the primary cause of removal centres on poverty and family violence. It also exposes the significant role discrimination plays, with Indigenous families having appreciably lower access to services that support child safety, development and well-being.

Family Matters Co-Chair and QATSICPP CEO, Natalie Lewis, said while the safety of children was paramount, the current situation was blatantly unfair to Aboriginal children and their families.

It is discriminatory, and it is all of our responsibility to work together to ensure all children are afforded the best chance to grow up nurtured and cared for connected to their family and culture.

“The consequences of not doing this are profound: devastating families; deepening intergenerational trauma; severing children’s cultural bonds; triggering poor life outcomes; and eroding culture and community.

“Aboriginal children have grown up safe and well cared for in family and culture for thousands of years – we have the answers and the evidence to raise our children safe and in culture.”

– Natalie Lewis, Family Matters Co-Chair

The report also details state specific data, revealing the worst performance by Western Australia with the highest rates of over-representation (16.2 times) and lowest take-up of evidence informed solutions. Victoria shows the most promise, investing in significant measures to improve Aboriginal child safety and well-being.

The Family Matters campaign is calling for:

  1. A comprehensive COAG strategy to redress the causes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child removal and improve child safety and well-being, backed by strong targets
  2. A minimum of 30 per cent of all investment in child protection be channelled into prevention and early intervention
  3. A new federal program for effective and culturally safe reunification programs across Australia
  4. State-wide Aboriginal family led decision-making programs
  5. A federal program to trial local community strategies to redress local risks for children and mediate child protection intervention, and
  6. State-based commissioners and peak bodies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in all states and territories.

We are now approaching the 20th anniversary of the seminal Bringing Them Home report and, while many of our communities are thriving, the stark findings and projections in this report cannot be ignored.”

– Natalie Lewis