Nationally, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children (aged 0-17) make up just 4.6 per cent of the child population yet comprise almost 35 per cent of all children in out-of-home care. The disproportionate number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being removed from their families is reaching crisis levels and continues to spiral upwards.
Since Prime Minister Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generations in 2008, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children placed in out-of-home care has increased by 65 per cent.
The enormous human and financial costs of removal — to children, their families and communities and the wider society — will impact on this generation and the generations to come.
Urgent action is needed from governments, in partnership with Indigenous communities, to reduce the high contact of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families with the child protection system.
A community meeting in Canberra on the eve of the anniversary of the National Apology will bring together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members, practitioners, service providers, researchers and members of the Grandmothers Against Child Removal Group to discuss and identify solutions to address this critical issue and stem the flow of Indigenous children being removed from their families.
Speakers at the forum include:
- Geraldine Atkinson, SNAICC Deputy Chairperson, (Early Childhood) and President Victorian Aboriginal Education Association
- Aunty Hazel Collins, Founding Member of Grandmothers Against Child Removal
- Richard Weston, Chief Executive Officer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation
Where: Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House
Enter from rear, 18 Queen Victoria Terrace, Parkes, Canberra
When: Thursday, 12 February 2015, 2.00 – 5.00pm
The Canberra meeting is part of a series of state-territory meetings under the Family Matters — Kids in Culture, Not in Care national initiative being driven by SNAICC in partnership with the Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat (AbSec), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation, Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak (QATSICPP), Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and Families Australia.
For more information: Gemma Unwin, Family Matters Manager, (0423) 696 880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org; Giuseppe Stramandinoli, SNAICC Media Officer, (0419) 508 125