NSW Government continues to score poorly in new report
Wednesday 13 February 2019
The NSW Government is failing across five out of seven measures to support Aboriginal children and families, according to our new report card released on the 11th anniversary of the Apology to the Stolen Generations.
Our report card measures the performance of the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) between 30 June 2016 and 30 June 2017 (the most recent data available). It identifies seven important indicators for Aboriginal kids receiving child protection services.
This is our second FACS report card — you can see last year’s one here.
The key findings:
Overall, the number of Aboriginal children and young people in out-of-home care continues to rise. While more than 1,000 Aboriginal children entered out-of-home care during the year, this was almost a fifth fewer than the previous year. Yet, the number of Aboriginal children reported at Risk of Significant Harm continues to rise, while the number of Aboriginal children and families receiving an intensive family support to address risk of harm fell. This raises important questions about what’s behind the lower numbers of Aboriginal children entering care, and what it means for Aboriginal children and young people and their families.
We’re also seeing declining numbers of Aboriginal kids returning home or being placed with their Aboriginal family or kin.
7,152 Aboriginal children were in out-of-home care as at 30 June 2017. This was an increase of 2.6% compared to the previous year.
During the year:
- 18,200 Aboriginal children were reported at risk of significant harm – an increase of 6.7% compared to the previous year.
- 5,580 Aboriginal children received an intensive family support service – a decrease of 3% on the previous year.
- 256 Aboriginal children returned home – a decrease of 3% on the previous year.
- 39.2% of Aboriginal children were placed with Aboriginal family/kin. This fell by 0.9%.
- 1,058 Aboriginal children entered out-of-home care – a decrease of 19.7% on the previous year. Of these entries, 82% were first time entries.
Overall, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are now more than 10 times more likely to be in out-of-home care than non-Indigenous children, and this over-representation continues to rise.
We need to see a change
The experiences of Stolen Generation survivors show the impacts of forced removal and separation from family, community and culture not only last throughout a lifetime, but impact the lives of their children and grandchildren.
Unless governments pursue a new approach, the number of Aboriginal children and young people in out-of-home care is expected to triple over the next 20 years.
We are calling on governments to put an immediate end to the old failed policies of permanent removal, and to embrace our solutions — Aboriginal-led solutions — as part of a rights-based Aboriginal child and family system. This was the promise of action within the Apology, and it is long past due.