SNAICC News

Our Children Our Dreaming: A call for a just approach for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families

25 June 2013 | SNAICC NEWS

The Healing Foundation, Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak Ltd (QATICCP), The Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat (AbSec) and the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) have published a discussion paper examining the continued overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children Australia’s child protection system.

Our Children Our Dreaming: A call for a more just approach for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families details the scope and nature of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander overrepresentation in the child protection system, and provides discussion on strategies to effectively address this overrepresentation.

While there is wide acknowledgment of the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and children in child protection services – and a growing understanding of the impact of social and economic disadvantage – current approaches to ensuring safety and well being for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families continue to be ineffective.

Current child protection services often respond to the impact of disadvantage, but do not address the causes of disadvantage. Our Children Our Dreaming details the importance of addressing the broader issues of disadvantage, and applying a commitment to human rights, culture and self-determination, in achieving safety and wellbeing for Aboriginal children and families.

To address overrepresentation in the child protection system, Our Children Our Dreaming proposes a new approach to achieving safety and wellbeing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. The discussion paper has drawn together six key aspects of effective engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities for child protection services.

The approach must be:

  • founded on an understanding of rights, culture and self determination
  • informed by an understanding of the relationships between trauma, disadvantage and child abuse and neglect
  • based on a holistic response to the needs of children and their families
  • led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations
  • enabled through partnerships with mainstream non-government organisations and governments
  • sustained by long term community development strategies and investment.

Our Children Our Dreaming provides insight into the way in which a new approach can ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities experience fairer and more just responses to their needs in the future.

For more information, please visit SNAICC’s National Initiative page.