In 2013–14, SNAICC established Family Matters — Kids Safe in Culture, Not in Care, a national initiative that aims to break the traumatic cycle of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child removal and halve the number of children in out-of-home care by 2018
The need for such an initiative was unanimously endorsed by delegates at SNAICC’s Fifth National Conference in Cairns in June 2013 and re-affirmed later that month at a Melbourne forum on child removal issues organised by SNAICC.
While comprising just 4.6 per cent of the nation’s child population, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children represent a staggering 34 per cent of all children in out-of-home care. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 10.6 times more likely to be placed in out-of-home care than non-Aboriginal children.
Family Matters is being led by SNAICC in partnership with the following peak/national agencies in the child welfare sector:
NSW 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.
As part of the initiative, Family Matters is engaging with key stakeholders and decision-makers across Australia to discuss the issue, highlight the lived experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and develop state and territory based action plans. It is achieving this through one-on-one meetings, public forums and community meetings, presentations at conferences and symposiums, an on-going media campaign and through the development of strategic alliances with key non-government organisations.
Family Matters has been particularly successful in engaging with the Ministers for Child Protection and Commissioners for Children on this issue, through one-on-one meetings and through their participation in the official proceedings at the public forums.
Chief Executive Officers from major non-government organisations are also supporting the project and are looking at ways they can change their practices, support Aboriginal community controlled organisations to manage child protection and how they can redistribute their resources to expend more money on prevention rather than child protection.