8 July 2020
The NSW Government has released its response to the Family is Culture report, which examined the reasons behind the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in foster and kinship care in NSW and made a number of recommendations to ensure culture, connection to kin, community and country is recognised and protected.
Every Australian needs to be aware of our collective responsibility to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children grow up safe and cared for in family, with kin, on country and in community.
Today, the NSW Government has announced a number of initiatives in response to the report including:
Establish an Aboriginal Knowledge Circle comprising of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community leaders and sector experts, who will provide advice to the Minister and the Secretary of the Department of Communities and Justice about how to improve outcomes for Aboriginal children in OOHC.
Establish an Aboriginal Outcomes Taskforce to drive improvements in services and supports for Aboriginal families, data collection and reporting, casework policy and practice, and interagency coordination.
Appoint a Deputy Children’s Guardian for Aboriginal Children and Young People who will provide leadership within the sector and work with Aboriginal communities to drive a better and more culturally appropriate standard of care.
Life Without Barriers welcomes these initiatives which will provide forums to the Minister and the Department of Communities and Justice to listen to Aboriginal communities and their leaders and creates formal mechanisms for Aboriginal leadership within the child protection system.
The overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care is one of our most urgent issues as a community and we need to hear, respect and respond with the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to address this issue.
We support any measures that strengthen the cultural capability of child protection and better respond to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
The Family is Culture Independent Review of Aboriginal children and young people in out-of-home care (OOHC) was commissioned by the NSW Government in 2016 to examine the reasons for the disproportionate and increasing number of Aboriginal children and young people in OOHC in NSW.