The Inquiry into Aboriginal child removals and placements in South Australia is well underway, and you’re invited to share your story.
Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People, April Lawrie, launched the Inquiry late last year to consider how the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle is being applied in the removal and placement of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care.
The Inquiry will also address the rate at which the Department for Child Protection removes Aboriginal newborns from their mothers at birthing hospitals and places them into the care of non-Aboriginal carers, as well as how often the department separates Aboriginal siblings when they are removed from their birth parents.
April said Aboriginal children continued to be over-represented in out-of-home care in South Australia.
“When they [the children] enter care, only 3 in 10 are placed with Aboriginal family or kin, a rate that is decreasing,” April said.
“Their chance of reunifying with family or kin is lower than anywhere else in the nation.
“I want to hear from the Aboriginal community about their experiences and from people working in child protection or providing services about challenges to applying the child placement principle.
“South Australia needs a system that enshrines connection to culture, family and community as a birthright for Aboriginal children. Family and culture is everything.”
Guardian for Children and Young People, Shona Reid, welcomes the Inquiry, noting that here at our office we are very mindful of the over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in care, with more than 36% of children in care identifying as Aboriginal.
“Just over one in every 11 Aboriginal children in SA is now living in state care, highlighting the need for more cultural inclusive perspectives across the entire child protection system,” Shona said.
“As highlighted in the final report of the South Australian Dual Involved project, systemic reform must be made to improve the availability of culturally appropriate specialist services and responses to children and their families, including in regional and remote areas, if we are to properly support connection to culture for Aboriginal children and young people while they are in care,” Shona said.
Members of the Aboriginal community (including Aboriginal foster and kinship carers), state authorities, non-government organisations and service providers are encouraged to share their experiences, suggest improvements and have their voices heard as part of the Inquiry.
Children and young people in care will also get their chance to talk to the Commissioner throughout the consultation period, with dates still to be finalised.
How you can have your say
- Write a submission
- Attend a community forum
- Meet with the Commissioner
- Make a submission in language.
To find out more on how you can have your say, visit www.cacyp.com.au/inquiry.
The Inquiry will be complete by July 2023.