7 September 2023

Life Without Barriers Chief Executive, Claire Robbs has called for non-aboriginal community-controlled organisations to step away from providing out-of-home care to Aboriginal children in an address at SNAICC23, a national conference about education, care, and child protection issues that impact First Nations children.

Speaking to over 1600 of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, policymakers, researchers, government officials, regulators non-government organisations and industry representatives Robbs said real change happens at the broader sector level.

“We must openly identify parts of this system that are built on discriminatory ideas and practices, and we must challenge and change these together,” Ms Robbs said.

“We must prioritise every decision around the right for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children to grow up strong in identity and with belonging.

“To achieve that, organisations like Life Without Barriers have to step out of the way and encourage the direct investment of resources towards community control.

“This means to consider a fundamental systemic change that doesn’t tinker around the edges of the system we have now but overhauls the commissioning and delivery of supports so they are designed and implemented by First Nations People.”

“Life Without Barriers is on that journey and we are committed to encouraging other non-ACCO organisations to do the same.”

The Life Without Barriers Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan commits the organisation to progressively transition children to Aboriginal community-controlled services, placing decision-making about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children where they belong – with family and communities.

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