Next week provides an important focus on families through National Families Week. The importance of families to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities and the challenges they face need our specific and committed attention. When the ground-breaking ‘Bringing Them Home’ report into the Stolen Generations was released in 1997, Australia was shocked to learn that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children represented one in every five children living in out-of-home care. Today – nearly 20 years later – they are one in every three.
‘Family Matters: Strong Communities. Strong Culture. Stronger Children’ is Australia’s national campaign to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people grow up safe and cared for in family, community and culture. Family Matters aims to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 2040. Family Matters is led by SNAICC – National Voice for our Children and is supported by a Strategic Alliance of over 150 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous organisations, leading academics and prominent educational institutions.
The Family Matters Week of Action is an annual awareness raising event, to harness public engagement and political commitment. Community empowerment and human rights lie at the heart of this campaign. ACWA is proud to be part of the Family Matters campaign and contributing to the Week of Action here in.
The NSW Family Matters Collective represents a group of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organisations that recognise the need to do more to protect the rights of Aboriginal children and families, empowering communities and driving more effective approaches to achieve better outcomes for Aboriginal children, their families and communities. The NSW Family Matters Collective is convened by the Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat (AbSec), ACWA’s peak partner in NSW.
ACWA is asking our members and other relevant agencies to join us in supporting the work of Family Matters and our Aboriginal partner agencies. The NSW sector also continues to move through an extended period of significant reform, generating a great deal of uncertainty in the sector. This uncertainty also presents an opportunity to effect genuine change for Aboriginal children, families and communities. In particular, they present an opportunity for Aboriginal people in our communities to participate in the design and implementation of a child protection system built by Aboriginal people, for Aboriginal children and their families.
You may also be interested in attending the Indigenous Research Synergies Seminar on May 24 at UTS that will look at many of the issues through the lens of the ‘Bringing Them Home’ report and will showcase some excellent guest speakers from Australia (NT and NSW) and Canada.
Photo Credit: Fon Hodes Shutterstock.com