SNAICC has provided a submission to the Senate Inquiry into Out of Home Care, which details five key priorities it believes should underpin new ways of working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care has increased by 53 per cent since June 2008. Today there are over 14,000 of our children in out-of-home care across Australia — or 34 per cent of all children in care, despite comprising just 4.4 per cent of the child population.
The SNAICC submission draws from a practice and evidence base built in consultation and research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous communities, organisations and sector experts.
The five key priorities outlined in the submission are:
- Increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community participation in decisions for the care of our children, supported by increased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled service design and delivery.
- Re-orienting service delivery to early intervention and family support to build on the strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to care for and protect their own children.
- Reflecting in funding and policy directions that holistic and integrated family support and child protection services that are accessible and appropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families are crucial.
- Recognising the importance of supporting and maintaining cultural connection to the best interests of our children.
- Facilitating and supporting partnerships that build capacity and cultural competence for effective service delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
In July 2014 the Senate referred the out-of-home care inquiry to the Community Affairs References Committee, which is expected to deliver its report in February 2015.
SNAICC’s submission has individually addressed all ten terms of reference for the inquiry.
It is clear from the staggering numbers of our children and families that come into contact with child protection systems that innovative and bold new ways of working are needed, based on greater Indigenous participation and control.