28 November 2018
Major provider of child, youth and family services, Life Without Barriers, has welcomed the Family Matters report and its campaign to call on all governments and the entire community to reduce the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children in out of home care.
Life Without Barriers Chief Executive Claire Robbs said that as a service provider that partners with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, sadly it is no surprise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people are overrepresented in care and that as a community we all need to urgently come together to find solutions.
“There are simply too many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being removed from their families and the report shows that these numbers are rising. This is unacceptable and we all have a role to play in changing this,” Ms Robbs said.
“We stand with Family Matters’ call to all governments to work together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to develop an intergenerational strategy to deal with this issue. We recognise that as a whole community, we are all responsible, and all need to work together if we are going to achieve genuine and lasting change.”
Ms Robbs said Life Without Barriers recognised its own responsibility to collaborate for change. “We share and support Family Matters’ commitment to ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people grow up safe and cared for in family, community and culture. In recognising our own role in this, we are constantly reflecting on how we can improve our services and what we can do to bring about
Ms Robbs said that the Family Matters report makes a number of other recommendations which need to be put into action.
The report points out that only 17% of child protection funding goes into support services for families to prevent children from being taken into care, compared with 83% in child protection and care services.
“Clearly prevention is better than cure. It makes sense to invest more in supporting families to stay together.
We support Family Matters’ recommendation to increase the proportion of investment in evidence based and culturally informed early intervention and prevention services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Families.”
Ms Robbs said that more also needs to be done to address poverty, family violence and housing insecurity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, which are major drivers of child protection involvement.
“When a quarter of people accessing homelessness services are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, and many of them are children, there is simply more we need to do address this structural inequality and keep children safe at home.”
T: 0436 609 250