Posted on November 8th, 2019
A recent Family Matters report has captured a snapshot of the issues surrounding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Australia.
The report reveals:
- 20,421 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care.
- 37.3% of the total number of children in out-of-home care, but only 5.5% of the total number of children in Australia.
- in 2018, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were:
- 10.2 times more likely to be living in out-of-home care than non-Indigenous children.
- 45% less likely to be living with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family members or carers (down from 49.4% in 2017)
- 7 times more likely to be on a permanent care order until the age of 18 years and at risk of permanent separation from their families, cultures and communities.
The report uncovered the causes behind these findings including the following:
- Nearly 1 in 3 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were living below the poverty line and people accessing homelessness services were 9.4 times more likely to be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
- 25% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experiencing homelessness are children.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are:
- 2.6 times more likely to be developmentally delayed at the age of 5.
- attending child care services at half the rate of non-indigenous children and being excluded from these services with the introduction of New Child Car Package and associated Activity Test.
- far more likely to be reported to a child protection services before they are born.
- The trauma associated with child removal is inter-generational. Children living with members of the Stolen Generations, when compare with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are:
- 1.8 times less likely to have poor self-assessed health
- 1.6 times as likely to live in household with cash-flow problems.
Scott TorcettiRegional Manager Clinical & Social Services – Bundaberg
CentacareCQ regional manager clinical and social services (Bundaberg Region) Scott Torcetti said the organisation was committed to working with community partners and developing integrated community psycho-social supports that strengthen community identity and connection.
“The figures are staggering with relation to the over representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander children residing in out of home care, an Aboriginal or Torres Strait islander child is over 10 times more likely to be living in out of home care that a non-indigenous child this not only has direct impacts on the child , Family and community’s but the intergenerational effect of trauma is massive.”
He also added that the report outlined the failure of government in the resourcing and management of this issue identifying failures in the reporting systems that allowed this problem to be overlooked.
“What are the solutions to the issue?” Scott questioned.
“The report suggest that their should be an increased role played by kin and community in solving this problem.
Sandy LovelessRegional Manager Clinical & Social Services – Mackay
CentacareCQ regional manager clinical and social services (Mackay Region) Sandy Loveless said the organisation continuously ensures they are building and fostering meaningful relationships with community-led organisations and provide high-quality, culturally appropriate child and family support services.
“The Family Matters Report again highlights the escalating crisis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being over-represented in Australian child protection systems,” Sandy explained.
For more information or to read the full report Click Here