• Aunty Muriel Bamblett says maintaining a connection to culture while in care is of the utmost importance. (AAP)Source: AAP
Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat (AbSec) has released their first annual report into the performance of the NSW Department of Family and Community Service.
By
Rangi Hirini

Source:
NITV News
16 Feb 2018 - 9:00 AM  UPDATED 16 Feb 2018 - 9:01 AM

As the nation celebrated a decade since former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivered the apology to the Stolen Generations, statistics from around the country revealed that the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids in out of home care has doubled.

A new report by AbSec has found the New South Wales government is also failing.

The report compared the NSW Department of Family and Community Service’s (FACS) performance between June 2015 to June 2016.

It found that there was a 10 per cent increase in the number of Aboriginal children being removed from their families in that period.

CEO of AbSec Tim Ireland the said the state government is failing Aboriginal children.

“We know that things are getting worse for Aboriginal children in the long term, but this report shows that we’ve taken major steps backward in the space of just a year,” Mr Ireland said.

The report also discovered the number of Aboriginal kids returning home after being placed in out-of-home care has decreased by 11 per cent.

“If the number of Aboriginal kids removed from home is significantly increasing every year, while the number of kids returning home is decreasing, what does that say about where our kids will be in another 10 years’ time?”, Mr Ireland said.

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The New South Wales state government told NITV News keeping Aboriginal families together is a priority for them.

FACS have introduced a new Aboriginal Outcome Strategy, it specifically targets the over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in the child protection system.

The strategy aims to reduce the number of Aboriginal children entering out of home care by 20 per cent.

The newly developed strategy also hopes to transition Aboriginal children and young people to guardianship, and restore Aboriginal Children and young people to their families.

FACS said they hope the new changes will prevent Aboriginal children from entering the child protection system.

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The report found there was some progress made in some service areas, with a three per cent increase in the number of Aboriginal children receiving an intensive support service.

Mr Ireland praised the positive change.

“It’s great to see around 160 more Aboriginal kids receiving intensive support services, but it’s not enough. We need more investment in early intervention services, and we need these services to be delivered by Aboriginal community organisations. That way, parents will have access to the support they need, and they’ll be confident approaching services they can trust,” he said.

The NSW government has also pledged $90.5 million for over four years to provide 900 places per year for intensive family preservation and restoration services aimed at keeping families together- half of those will be for Indigenous children.