Absec Dismayed At Attacks On Aboriginal Placement Principles

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1st February 2010, 04:58pm - Views: 912





People Feature AbSec 1 image

MEDIA RELEASE   

01/02/10       

AbSec dismayed at ongoing attacks on Aboriginal Child Placement

Principles.


The Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat (AbSec)

believes that the

current round of attacks on the Aboriginal placement principles by the media stem from a defunded

foster care support service, who it would appear has an axe to grind with Community Services

(DoCS) and are using Aboriginal children as pawns to achieve their misguided ends. DoCS has it

right when giving priority to considering kinship placements for Aboriginal children in the care

system. Whilst it is everybody’s wish that all children in the system be placed to avoid physical and

emotional harm, it has been acknowledged on many occasions over many years,

that previous

government policies of placing Aboriginal children in non-Aboriginal foster placements and

institutions has led to a legacy of “culturally” damaged Aboriginal adults. 


AbSec believes that if appropriate Police/working with children checks are undertaken, thorough

assessments of prospective family/kinship carers are made and adequate and equal supports are

provided - then not only can kinship carers provide a safe and loving environment for the child but

can achieve better long-term outcomes for those children. These benefits include keeping

Aboriginal children connected to their culture and community -

thereby avoiding another “lost”

generation of Aboriginal people transferring trans-generational trauma.  


The defunded agency, which purports to support all carers, appears to have taken a stance against

Aboriginal carers, and also now seems to be ignoring the importance of placing children with

siblings -

against all current research trends. AbSec previously had an MOU with an earlier

incarnation of NSW Foster Care Association, which detailed support for the placement principle and

Aboriginal carers. The current unfunded agency has not had any contact with AbSec in relation to

any issues relevant to Aboriginal children or carers.


AbSec is also

extremely concerned that it would appear there has been a breach of the privacy

provisions of the NSW child protection legislation. For the details of the story of the 31st

January to

appear on Channel Nine, it is patently obvious that an illegal exchange

of information must have

occurred between some or all of the parties featured in the story. The legislation is in place to

ensure that the best interests of the child are paramount.  It is inappropriate for individuals or

agencies to cherry pick the parts

of the legislation that suit their own agendas whilst

ignoring/diminishing the importance of the broader provisions of the Children and Young Persons

(Care and Protection) Act

(the Act), especially those provisions related to the placement of

Aboriginal children.  


The current Minister of Community Services, Linda Burney, has shown a commitment to developing

a better system to “Keep Them Safe” as recommended by Justice James Wood. Those

recommendations included better adherence to s.13 of the Act as they relate to Aboriginal children

and young people. At a recent community forum for Keep Them Safe, Minister Burney said, “As

Commissioner Wood said after his enquiry, we all need to share responsibility for the safety and

wellbeing of children –

parents, families and the whole community. When a child has to be

removed, the most important thing is a safe, stable, long term placement.  If extended family are

assessed as suitable that is often the best option.”                                                      (more)

People Feature AbSec 2 image


Bill Pritchard the CEO of AbSec said, “Reforming the system doesn’t mean we have to revert to

past damaging practices. No child protection system is perfect but the acknowledgement of past

social injustices inflicted on Aboriginal people should enlighten the broader community’s thinking

when considering placing Aboriginal children with non-Aboriginal foster carers.  We fully support

Community Services on the stance they have taken on this issue”.


For further comment:

Garry Matthews – board spokesperson - mobile 0411 360 190 email eo@absec.org.au


The Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat (AbSec) is the peak

NSW Aboriginal organisation giving voice to and supporting Aboriginal children ,

families, carers and their communities within the child and communities services sector.







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