7 September 2015 | General Interest
About Family Matters
All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people deserve to grow up safely in their home, receive a good education, and grow up healthy and proud of who they are. Family Matters – kids safe in culture, not in care aims to break the cycle of child removal and address the alarming rate of over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the statutory child protection system.
Family Matters is a national initiative advocating that wherever possible children should be kept safe with their families, their culture and their communities. It is coordinated by a committed group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous organisations, led by SNAICC, and supported by a broad base of highly regarded state and national peak bodies and non-government organisations (NGOs). The initiative aims to turn the tide on the continuing systematic removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people to create a new paradigm of care.
Since its inception, Family Matters has undertaken a range of national-level strategic activities. Family Matters has engaged with key stakeholders and decision-makers across Australia to discuss the issue, and highlight the lived experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Public forums and community meetings have been held in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia. The public and community forums confirmed significant passion and commitment to address the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the child protection system.
The Family Matters website was launched in May this year; the new website aims to encourage engagement with the Family Matters initiative, promote key messages, track the progress of the initiative at state, territory and national levels and encourage financial support.
So what’s happening now?
Currently, the Family Matters coordinating group, led by SNAICC, is undertaking a literature review interrogating the available evidence on strengths-based approaches to prevention and early intervention to support the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. Once complete, this review will be used to inform Family Matters objectives and strategic advocacy.
Family Matters will also be a focal point at the upcoming SNAICC conference in Perth, from 15-17 September. The Family Matters plenary session on the Wednesday morning of the conference will be a dynamic and frank Q&A discussion with community, national and international leaders on reversing the tide of child removals.
The session will be facilitated by well-known journalist Narelda Jacobs, presenter for Ten Eyewitness News Perth, and panelists will be:
- Muriel Bamblett, VACCA
- Dr Cindy Blackstock, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada
- Judge Matthew Myers, Federal Circuit Court of Australia
- Emma White, Director General, WA Department for Child Protection and Family Support
SNAICC is also encouraging your participation in our Family Matters workshop at the conference, which will be held after the plenary session. The workshop, What is Family Matters and how can you participate?, will seek input on the draft Family Matters objectives and strategic priorities at the national level. It will also provide a space for state and territory discussions on core priorities at the local level.
How can I be involved?
Go to the Family Matters website for further information on Family Matters and how you can be involved.