Reviewing Implementation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle Northern Territory 2019


This report reviews the progress of the Northern Territory Government in implementing the full intent of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle.

This implementation review is conducted on the basis of the best practice approach set out in SNAICC, 2017, Understanding and Applying the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle – A Resource for Legislation, Policy and Program Development and SNAICC, 2018, The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle: A Guide to Support Implementation.

It considers changes in the implementation of the five elements of the Child Placement Principle – prevention, partnership, placement, participation and connection – described in diagram across five interrelated system elements, since the comprehensive baseline analysis SNAICC released in April 2018 (2018 Baseline Analysis). These system elements are legislation, policy, programs, processes and practice.

The review therefore only considers the Child Placement Principle implementation efforts from 1 May 2018 – 30 April 2019.

Key findings of the Implementation Review for Northern Territory 2019

Alongside legislative reform, the Northern Territory is amid a number of policy and program reforms.

The Safe, Thriving and Connected: Generational Change for Children and Families continues to be implemented and the Signs of Safety model is being rolled out. In addition, the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT) has been funded to co-design a comprehensive early intervention family support service to be delivered by Aboriginal health services/ACCOs.

Despite some progresses, Aboriginal children were 11.5 times more likely to be in out-of-home care than their non-Indigenous peers in 2017-18, an increase from 11. Since the Baseline Analysis was conducted, and a rate above the national average of 10.2 times. Disturbingly, Aboriginal children make up 89.3% of the out-of-home care population in the Northern Territory. Territory Families has adopted the Signs of Safety model to child protection casework, which is progressively being rolled out. The Government reports that this model will support with preventing Aboriginal children from entering out-of-home care, though there is limited information on how this model will seek to achieve this.

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