Mat Tinkler, Director of Policy at Save the Children, said: “As a leading child rights organisation, Save the Children supports the Family Matters campaign, and calls for action by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to address the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care.
“We welcome the Australian Government’s response to recommendations from the Community Affairs Reference Committee that include a broadening of the definition of the child placement principle, as well as seeking genuine partnerships with the community – an important step towards ensuring that Aboriginal community-controlled agencies have a strong say in all aspects of the child protection system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
“However, there is still more that could be championed by this government. If we are to have any chance of ensuring Aboriginal children remain connected to their families, community and culture, then governments at both federal and state level must act on causal issues, such as intergenerational poverty, homelessness and a real lack of community consultation in decision-making. Also, we know from our own experiences in operating services in this space that continued investment in early intervention and prevention are key to ensuring real progress and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families.
“If we fail to take this crisis seriously now, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care will triple in a generation. This demands urgent political leadership and action from state and federal governments and a strong commitment to listening to, and acting upon, the recommendations of Aboriginal organisations, communities and families.”
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