The Queensland Government has announced $162.8 million in extra funding to try and reduce the number of Indigenous children forcibly removed from their families.
Last year a report by the UN highlighted Australia's child removal rate, especially Indigenous children, as one of the worst in the world.
The Our Way strategy will deliver the funding over five years to community run services in partnership with Family Matters, a network of over 150 Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations Australia wide.
It comes after 18 months of Government consultation with Indigenous communities and organisations.
Co-chair of Family Matters Queensland, Ms Natalie Lewis, said in a statement the plan represented a significant shift in approach and thinking around child welfare.
"As a result of our open and honest engagement with the Queensland Government, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations are being empowered to craft a new narrative for the futures of our children, families and communities,” she said.
“This is a deliberate and long overdue departure from business as usual, and places Queensland firmly at the forefront of addressing the national crisis of disproportionate representation of our kids in out-of-home care.”
Minister for Child Safety Shannon Fentiman said in a statement yesterday that the funding was just part one of a 20 year plan to tackle the growing number of children being removed from Indigenous homes.
“We want to deliver genuine, collaborative support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents to ensure children grow up safe and cared for surrounded by family, community and culture,” Ms Fentiman said.
“Far too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are still coming into contact with the child protection system. We need to support our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families so children can grow up safe and cared for surrounded by their own family, community and culture.”
Key parts of the plan:
- $150 million for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Wellbeing Services
- $6 million for the Empowering Families Innovation Fund, comprising of $1.5 million for the First 1000 Days Australia program with Melbourne University
- Establishing the Queensland First Children and Families Board to guide the Our Way strategy and its implementation
- Maximising kinship placements for children in out-of-home care.