SNAICC News

Delegates call for action to reduce high number of children in out-of-home care

20 June 2013 | SNAICC NEWS

Delegates at SNAICC’s Fifth National Conference in Cairns unanimously endorsed a national campaign to halve the dramatically high number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 2018.

In an emotionally-charged session on the last day, delegates committed to support the national campaign and take action to achieve its objective by 2018.

SNAICC will partner a number of agencies (see background information) in running the campaign, which will seek to create a groundswell of support from the Australian community to change what one conference speaker described as “our national shame”.

In mid-2012, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children accounted for over one third of the 39,621 children in out-of-home care across Australia. Indigenous children are being removed from their families at rates higher than at any time during the Stolen Generations eras.

Recent figures in Queensland indicate that, this year, 62 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children will have had some contact with the state’s child protection system.

SNAICC Chairperson Sharron Williams told delegates the high number of children in care was “diabolical.” “Our children have rights. It is time that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families stand up and say enough. We will not stand for this any longer,” she said.

Delegates agreed that different approaches were needed to support vulnerable families and reduce their contact with child protection systems. These new solutions must be driven by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, place families at the centre and enable participation of children and young people to drive renewed efforts.

Conference delegates committed to take personal responsibility and action at the local level to ensure safe and nurturing communities. They also reinforced the need to better hold the government accountable for fundamental human rights. 

Conference delegates also committed to:

  • take personal responsibility and action at the local level for safe and nurturing communities
  • hold government accountable for fundamental human rights, and
  • look at strategies for sustainable support for integrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early year and family support services

Background information 

Founding organisations in the national campaign include:

  • Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC)
  • Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat (NSW) – AbSec
  • Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection peak Ltd (QATSICPP)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation
  • Families Australia
  • Australian Council of Social Service.

The campaign vision is:

All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people grow up safely at home, get a good education, are healthy and proud of who they are.

The campaign objectives are:

Stage One – To halve the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of home care by 2018.
Stage Two – To reduce, by 2023, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of home care so that it is proportionate to their representation in the general Australian population.

Visits the National Campaign webpage for more infomraion.


Media inquiries: Frank Hytten, SNAICC CEO, on 0432 345 652
Emma Sydenham, SNAICC Deputy CEO, (0415) 188 990
Giuseppe Stramandinoli, SNAICC Media Officer,
(0419) 508 125