Melbourne 27th November 2019
The Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) welcomes the report of the Commissioner for Children and Young People In Our Own Words systemic inquiry into the lived experience of children and young people in the Victorian care services system.
Recommendations the report details are important measures that need to be implemented immediately. These include a new investment approach for a safe and quality out of home care system prioritising the drivers of demand and reversing increasing numbers of Aboriginal children and young people entering care, as well as earlier intervention and prevention strategies.
While we know the government is already working with the Aboriginal community-controlled organisations (ACCO) sector through various strategies and plans, we believe more has to be done to improve the quality of care for children and young people and for their voices to be heard on a regular basis. This needs to happen on a child by child basis, as well as through broader inquiries such as In their own words.
“Giving children and young people a voice, their rights under the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the laws of the land, will also mean they will not be afraid to speak out if and when they feel unsafe in care.” said Muriel Bamblett AO CEO of VACCA in Melbourne today.
“If the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse taught us anything it was that when children are not heard they are more vulnerable, unsafe and exposed to exploitation”
“VACCA believes that Aboriginal people will do the best for our own children when they have to be in care. Our services show we have better reunification rates for our children, are better able to connect them to their families and communities and therefore their culture”.
The Report’s focus on the particular needs of Aboriginal children and young people is very important because the institutional bias that has led to their continued over-representation needs special measures to address it.