A new report highlighting a frightening trajectory of First Nations children being removed from their families should compel Australia’s political leaders to act urgently.
The devastation caused by family separations has been seen first-hand by World Vision staff and the organisation’s CEO Claire Rogers has called for “immediate and urgent action.”
“Something is going seriously wrong – it’s time to fix it. All children deserve the opportunity to realise their biggest, brightest and best futures,” Ms Rogers said.
“It’s so important that Australia’s First Nation children have the opportunity to grow up strong in culture in their community with family.”
Last year Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island children were 10.2 times more likely to be living in out-of-home care than non-Indigenous children, according to the Family Matters Report 2019. The national peak body representing the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children – SNAICC – commissioned the report.
By 2028 this trajectory of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children in out-of-home care is expected to more than double.
World Vision is one of 150 organisations which support the Family Matters campaign to keep more children with their families.
The humanitarian organisation works to increase access to quality, culturally safe early years programs in 14 remote Aboriginal communities across three regions around Australia.
The report calls for greater investment in quality early years services through a specific program, with targets to increase coverage in areas of high First Nations population and high levels of disadvantage.
World Vision backs the call for urgent action and urges the Council of Australian Government (COAG) to work with SNAICC and First Nations leaders across the country to develop a strategy which eliminates this over-representation by addressing the causes of removals from families.
World Vision endorses the recent SNAICC and Family Matters position paper calling for the establishment of a national commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.