Melbourne, Australia: SNAICC welcomes today’s final report from the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory, and calls on governments to work with local Aboriginal community-controlled organisations to ensure strategies are developed to see the report’s recommendations are successfully implemented.
This is the time for genuine partnership between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the Federal and Northern Territory Governments to address a Northern Territory child protection system that is in crisis.
The approach taken by Commissioner Gooda and Commissioner White in undertaking such a thorough investigation of systems within the NT must be applauded.
“The Royal Commission has taken many steps to ensure the voices of our children and our communities have been heard and captured.
“It is now the responsibility of Governments to work with Aboriginal community-controlled organisations in the Northern Territory to develop a comprehensive strategy and accountability measures to successfully implement the Royal Commission’s recommendations.”
– Sharron Williams, SNAICC – National Voice for our Children Chairperson
Strong and sustained political will is now needed to address long-standing and recognised challenges to improve the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the Northern Territory.
As previously outlined by the Royal Commission:
The youth justice and child protection systems in the Northern Territory are inextricably linked…children and young people in out-of-home care are more likely to enter the youth detention system.”
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children make up 89.1 per cent of all children in out-of-home care in the Northern Territory.
The over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in contact with juvenile justice and out-of-home care is frightening, and clearly shows why Aboriginal communities and organisations must be central in the reform process.”
– Sharron Williams
The Royal Commission report has evidenced the need for a comprehensive overhaul of the Northern Territory’s child protection system. SNAICC backs recommendations for sweeping reforms that promote a holistic approach to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. It is vital that this process recognises and values the capacity and expertise of Northern Territory Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, and properly resources them to lead culturally safe practices to achieve strong outcomes for our children.