Celebrating and showcasing the lives of First Nations children is the focus of today’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day.
With the theme this year of ‘My Dreaming, My Future’, the day also provides a valuable opportunity to reflect on how Australians can work together to improve a range of health, social and human rights outcomes for young First Nations people.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO said, “This National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day we celebrate the songlines our children are born into and recognise the love and care of their families in passing down these stories to the next generation, so that they can have a future strong in their culture. When our children are strong in culture, they thrive.
“Yet across many outcomes, we are failing our children. More must be done to change unjust systems and dismantle the structural discriminations that undermine our families from raising their children in safe, healthy and positive environments, connected to their kin, Country and culture. Our children and their dreamings are our future.”
Australia’s National Children’s Commissioner Anne Hollonds said, “This is a time to celebrate the strengths and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families. Unfortunately, as a country we continue to fail Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children every day because our basic policies and service systems are not meeting their needs.
“It’s heartbreaking to see young children suffering because Australia is not listening to kids and their families. We are out-of-step with other developed countries and we continue to breach our human rights obligations. A roadmap for urgent systems reform for prevention and early intervention is needed and we need to start now.”
To help mark the day, Australians have the opportunity to show their support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, as well as learn about the crucial impact that culture, family and community play in the life of every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child.
Children’s Day has been run annually since 1988 and is the initiative of SNAICC – National Voice for our Children.