SNAICC has joined with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organisations calling for the NSW Government to make a significant financial commitment in the 2020/21 Budget to address the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in the child protection system.
The Family is Culture campaign sent a letter to the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP on 2 March, asking the NSW Government to use this funding to immediately implement the 125 recommendations for reform contained in the Family is Culture report (November 2019). These recommendations relate to self-determination, transparency, public accountability and oversight, improving early intervention and recognising the harm of removal.
So far, the NSW Government has only committed to providing advice about their response by 30 June 2020. The Family is Culture collective believes this inaction is unacceptable, as based on current rates of removal, the seven-month delay could see more than 400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children be taken from their families.
In NSW, 40% of children in out-of-home or foster care are Aboriginal. This is nearly 10 times the rate of non-Indigenous children, despite only 5% of children in NSW being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
State peak body AbSec recently released its annual Report Card on the NSW child protection system. Based on new data from the Productivity Commission, the Report Card demonstrates that little change has occurred for Aboriginal children and families since 2015.
In the past 12 months to June 2019, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children reported at risk of significant harm has risen by more than 15% in the past year, and more than 33% since 2015. The report card also found a 12.8% increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children entering out-of-home care in the same period, and that two in five children in out-of-home care in NSW are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children.
Read the letter to NSW Government.
Read the AbSec media release.