8 September 2023

Agencies back SNAICC and say care outcomes are better when community is involved.

Image: Aboriginal Children’s Commissioners, Guardians and Advocates stand in a line with Catherine Liddle, CEO of SNAICC. They are outside under a tree.

Allies for Children, a newly formed alliance of Child Protection agencies*, has rallied behind SNAICC – National Voice for our Children (SNAICC) and its ongoing call for an independent National Commissioner dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

"It’s time for a National Commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children." Said Catherine Liddle, CEO of SNAICC at SNAICC'23.

Claire Robbs, Life Without Barriers Chief Executive, has called for non-aboriginal community-controlled organisations to step away from providing out-of-home care to Aboriginal children in an address at SNAICC'23, a national conference about education, care, and child protection issues that impact First Nations children.

Read the official Media Release from Allies for Children here.

Speaking to over 1600 of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, policymakers, researchers, government officials, regulators non-government organisations and industry representatives at Garamilla/Darwin, Ms 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."

Find the Life Without Barriers Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan here.

“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.” Said Ms Robbs.

“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.

Image: Catherine Liddle, CEO of SNAICC, Claire Robbs, CEO of Life Without Barriers and Karen Mundine, CEO of Reconciliation Australia, standing together.

SNAICC Chair Muriel Bamblett, who is also the CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, said outcomes were better for First Nations children when Indigenous people and organisations were involved.

"The evidence is clear that when we are partners in the decision-making, running the services and developing the policy, it works," Professor Bamblett said.

"So if we had more investment and the authority to be able to make decisions for our families we'd be able to reunite more children with their parents."

*Allies for Children includes some of the country's largest child and family organisations including OzChild, Key Assets, Life Without Barriers, Barnardo's, MacKillop and the Benevolent Society.

Life Without Barriers partners with SNAICC for kids in out-of-home care

Historic commitment to transfer out-of-home care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

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