• Family Matters is a newly launched Australian national campaign to eliminate the over representation of Indigenous children in protection (Family Matters)Source: Family Matters
A newly launched national campaign has released a report revealing the rapid increase of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being removed from their homes, unless action is taken.
By
Sophie Verass

9 Nov 2016 - 3:32 PM  UPDATED 9 Nov 2016 - 3:32 PM

Unless the government and the community tackle the already alarmingly high numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being removed from their families, the figure in 2035 could be as many as three times that of today's statistic, Family Matters reported.

Family Matters; Strong Communities. Strong Culture. Strong Children is a newly launched national campaign lead by the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) and formed to ensure young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People grow up safe and cared for in their family, their community and within their culture. It is a 150-strong contingent of prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation, noted academics and other groups. 

A report launched by the contingent in Canberra on Wednesday 9 November reveals that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are almost 10 times more like to be removed by child protection authorities than non-Indigenous children. There are currently approximately 15,000 Indigenous children separated from their families and living away from their homes.    

The report showed state specific data, revealing that Western Australia has the highest problems of over-representation and the lowest take-up of evidence informed solutions. Victoria shows the most promise, with significant measures to improve Aboriginal child safety being implemented.  

"We are deeply shocked by the projection of current trends showing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care will almost triple by 2035 - this is a stark warning that we need a new approach," said Family Matters Co-Chair and CEO of SNAICC; National Voice for our Children, Gerry Moore. 

The report revealed the primary cause of removals was due to poverty and family violence and exposes the significant role that discrimination plays when Indigenous family's lower access to services that support child safety and well-being, leaving them in further disadvantaged positions. 

Family Matters Co-Chair and CEO of QATSICPP, Natalie Lewis said that the current situation must be regarded if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children will be well cared for in the future,

"It is discriminatory, and it is all of our responsibility to work together to ensure all children are afforded the best chance to grow up nurtured and cared for connected to their family and culture

"The consequences of not doing this are profound; devastating families, deepening intergenerational trauma, severing children's cultural bonds, triggering poor life outcomes and eroding culture and community. 

"Aboriginal children have grown up safe and well cared for in family and culture for thousands of years. We have the answers and the evidence to raise our children safe and in culture."

"Aboriginal children have grown up safe and well cared for in family and culture for thousands of years. We have the answers and the evidence to raise our children safe and in culture."

Family Matters is calling for a 6-step action and asking Members of Parliament and strong influencers for their commitment. So far, they have secured the signatures of people like, Jenny Mikakos MP, Rebekha Sharkie MP, David Feeney MP, Nick Champion MP and will continue to obtain more on their State of Commitment as the campaign runs on.    


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