What we want from the NSW election
Thursday 7 June 2018
AbSec has just released its platform for the next NSW Government, which will form the basis of our focus leading up to the next state election in March 2019.
Aboriginal children and their families continue to be over-represented in the NSW child protection system, particularly at the crisis end of the system where children are removed from their families. This unacceptable situation has persisted despite multiple reviews and reforms, proving that current systems are not working for our kids.
“Aboriginal children and their needs deserve to be at the top of the priorities list for the next NSW Government,” said Tim Ireland, AbSec CEO.
“We need the incoming Government to stop the child protection system from continuing its downward spiral, and be courageous and committed in leading change.”
These are the changes we are asking for:
Establish an empowered Aboriginal Child and Family Commission
We are calling for a new statutory body to focus investment on Aboriginal community-controlled child and family services. This would be an Aboriginal body, led by an Aboriginal Child and Family Commissioner, responsible for:
- Directing government investment in child and family support services for Aboriginal people;
- Establishing a state-wide data system so we can measure the needs and impacts of services on our communities;
- Supervising the Aboriginal child protection system to ensure that our kids’ and families’ rights are being upheld;
- Providing early intervention, family support, child protection and out-of-home care services for Aboriginal children and families through investment in, and partnership with, Aboriginal agencies.
This would result in greater self-determination over community services, and we hope it would also promote greater flexibility in designing and providing these services – so we’ll have room to be innovative and creative in shaping a system around the needs of our Aboriginal families.
Build a strong, holistic Aboriginal child and family services sector
We need a state-wide safety net of child and family services tailored to the needs of Aboriginal communities. As well as being culturally responsive, these services should be provided by trusted Aboriginal organisations, and held accountable to Aboriginal communities.
We want to see a holistic Aboriginal service system that encompasses early intervention and accessible family support, and makes a variety of services available through one pathway – so it’s easy and simple for families to find the supports they need.
Invest in responsive, Aboriginal-led supports for Aboriginal children and families
It’s broadly recognised that Aboriginal-led solutions to issues in Aboriginal communities are more effective than non-Aboriginal, one-size-fits-all approaches. This is why we need greater investment in solutions pioneered and provided by Aboriginal agencies and communities.
We are calling for existing expenditure to be redirected towards Aboriginal-led programs and services, with an additional $30 million of government funding to be provided. We want to see the establishment of an evidence-informed framework which empowers Aboriginal organisations to measure their service results against clearly defined goals, and identify successful approaches which deserve more funding.
Rebuild the system around Aboriginal-led design and delivery
The current child protection system has been shaped by non-Indigenous people, with little to no involvement from Aboriginal people and communities. It is not fair that we should have such little say in a system which disproportionately affects our people.
We ask the parties to the election to commit to refocusing current approaches for Aboriginal children and families, giving greater support to Aboriginal community-controlled approaches and frameworks.
This means stopping current approaches that aren’t supported by Aboriginal people, particularly stopping the current approach to government-imposed adoption of Aboriginal children from out-of-home care.
The Government needs to actively engage with Aboriginal people and communities – not just listening to our concerns, but acting on them. We ask them to go back to the drawing board to design an effective and accountable child and family system, which supports our people from early intervention through to out-of-home care.
Our full election platforms briefing is available here.