Focus on the Future: Fixing the System
Thursday 4 June
It has been a tumultuous past few weeks for AbSec with news of the reduction in our funding from the Department of Communities and Justice hitting the headlines on the eve of National Sorry Day.
On behalf of AbSec, our CEO, Mr Tim Ireland, has extended his warmest appreciation for all the messages of support we have received about our funding cuts. Many have expressed shock, confusion and anger at this decision by the NSW Government, which seems totally at odds with the spirit of National Reconciliation Week. As an organisation, AbSec has fought this decision at every opportunity and we have demanded answers from the Department, particularly around how the progress made to date will continue or be maintained. Unfortunately, given the current, turbulent, social and economic environment which has been brought about by COVID-19, our demands appear to have gone unanswered.
In addition to this, the Black Lives Matter protests in America have brought back to light the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia at the hands of law enforcement. The 432 Aboriginal deaths in custody since 1991 and the excessive use of police force in arresting a 16-year-old boy in Sydney this week serve as stark reminders for the challenges we face.
AbSec believes that these recent events have highlighted the need for meaningful systematic change from Governments to protect Aboriginal children and families. We are determined to channel our energy into just this. While the reduction in our funding is a blow, we are focused on the future and moving forward we will be fighting for the implementation of all 125 recommendations of the Family is Culture review so that we can fix the child protection system for our young people and give them a better start in life.
The review laid out why the child protection system is currently failing us with examples of unwarranted child removals, including cases of babies being removed at birth without any attempts at early intervention, traumatic removals involving a large number of police officers, children in out-of-home care suffering abuse at the hands of their carers and more. The failings of the child protection system were noted as:
- Widespread noncompliance with legislation and policy among Family and Community Services (now Department of Communities and Justice) caseworkers
- Lack of transparency and effective oversight within the child protection system
- Reported multiple instances of poor and unethical newborn removal practices
- Continued resonance of the current child protection system with historical practices used against Aboriginal communities
With the number of children in out-of-home care projected to triple by 2035, now is the time for the NSW Government to act and fix the child protection system by implementing all 125 recommendations of the Family is Culture review!
Read more about the Family is Culture campaign.