Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children make up 38 per cent of the kids in out of home care in NSW, but just 5 per cent of the state’s youth population (under 18).
Tim Ireland, the CEO of AbSec - the peak body for Aboriginal children and families in NSW said a looming funding cut for the organisation could have a huge impact on young Indigenous people in the state.
The State Government plans to cut AbSec’s $5.7 million annual funding by 50 per cent in the next financial year.
But, Mr Ireland told NITV News, the loss of funding will not mean an end to AbSec’s services.
“We have to maintain, we have to continue on post June 30 because it is about the overrepresentation of Aboriginal kids in care, the need for appropriate and targeted services out there for kids and families across NSW,” he said.
“For us, yes, it’s a blow, it’s a huge blow but our focus is on how do we come out of the ashes from this so we’re back there supporting organisations that are supporting our Aboriginal kids and families.”
“It’ll mean that we have to go back to the drawing board and just think about how else can we best utilise AbSec as a peak body in NSW to best represent the interests of Aboriginal children and families.”
NSW Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services Penny Sharpe said the move to cut AbSec’s funding is ‘disturbing’, at a time of obvious need for services that target the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out of home care.
“If AbSec has to cut back on the work that it’s doing there’s no one else to do this work,” she said.
“There’s no one else to do the work to make the system better for kids, but also there’s no one to do the work to keep kids out of care.”
NSW Family, Communities and Disability Services Minister Gareth Ward said the funding that will be cut from AbSec was for "time-limited" projects which were due to end in June.
Mr Ward said there has been no change to the core funding of the organisation.