First Nations People and Child Protection Systems

In June 2020 the Disability Royal Commission released an issues paper asking for information about the experiences of First Nations people with disability.

In November 2020, the Disability Royal Commission held a public hearing on experiences of First Nations people with disability and their families who have had contact with child protection systems, and the extent to which culturally appropriate and accessible supports are provided.

There was a strong focus during the hearing on the firsthand experiences of First Nations people with disability. The hearing had a general structure of interviewing people with disability in the mornings and questioning witnesses representing state and territory departments responsible for child protection systems in the afternoons.

Experts with academic expertise and from First Nations community controlled organisations were also heard.

You can check out our twitter threads for the MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursday and Friday of the hearing.

Some Statistics:

First Nations children represent 37% of the total population of all children that have been removed from their parents (20,077 children) but represent only 6% of the total population of children in Australia.

Without urgent action, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care is projected to double by 2029.  

81% (16,287) of First Nations children in out-of-home care are living permanently away from their birth parents until the age of 18 years.

In 2018-19, there were 19 adoptions of First Nations children. Of these, 95% have been to non-Indigenous carers, and all occurred in New South Wales and Victoria.

Source: https://www.familymatters.org.au/

Other resources:

First Peoples Disability Network (FPDN) put out a media release on the hearing which can be found here.

The Family Matters Report 2020 looks at the disproportionate removal of First Nations children from the care of their parents.

SNAICC (Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care) have done a guide to Understanding and applying the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle. You can find out more about SNAICC here.

QATSICPP are the peak body representing, advocating for and supporting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child protection and family support services sector in Queensland. You can find out more about them here.

AbSec is a not-for-profit incorporated Aboriginal controlled organisation and the NSW Aboriginal child and family peak organisation. You can find out more about them here.

The Healing Foundation is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that partners with communities to address the ongoing trauma caused by actions like the forced removal of children from their families. You can find out more about them here.

For more background, you can have a look at the Bringing Them Home Report from the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families.