Melbourne, Australia: SNAICC – National Voice for our Children welcomes the Community Services Ministers’ meeting communiqué and the commitment to increasing the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
In a statement outlining the outcomes of their meeting, held in Darwin on 25 August, Federal and State and Territory Community Services Ministers signalled a unified commitment to:
- addressing the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care,
- investing in prevention and early intervention principles to reduce the number of children being removed by child protection authorities, and
- the importance of upholding the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Principle to ensure the unique and essential rights of our children are recognised.
SNAICC welcomes the Ministers’ acknowledgement and support of the vital role that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies and community-controlled organisations play in addressing these issues.
Furthermore, SNAICC also welcomes the acknowledgment of the leadership of the Redfern Statement Alliance as a process for ensuring self-determination drives reform, and the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are heard on decisions that affect our children.
Without a new approach – one that is led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies, and involves a greater investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations to support our communities, families and children – the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children removed by child protection authorities will triple by 2035.
A new approach to address this issue must be developed in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations.
As outlined in the Family Matter Roadmap, SNAICC reiterates that a COAG target and strategy are necessary measures to ensure that over-representation is eliminated and the safety and wellbeing of all Australian children is prioritised.