This interim report covers a lot of information about the Review and progress to date, including an outline of the four recommendations which have already been made. The Steering Committee asked that the four early recommendations be implemented immediately. The Interim Report also describes the priority areas that we are currently focused on and intend to make future recommendations against. It has been written to ensure community members can get a good understanding of what the Review is about and how people can provide input.
We are distressed that the ACT has an alarmingly high rate of removals of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from families, and this is disproportionate with our population and the intent for equality and opportunity for all people in the ACT.
We acknowledge the difficult position that members of our own community find themselves in, facing a complex and opaque government system with a lack of funded independent cultural advice and advocacy.
The Steering Committee is committed to finding ways to reduce the number of children entering care, improving their experience if they are in care, and increasing opportunities to exit care through restoration to their families.
We need the ACT Government to work more closely with our community to prevent children entering care by facilitating access to culturally appropriate early intervention programs such as intensive family support.
We must work together to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to remain together, strong and proud.
The final report, which is due in the last quarter of 2019, will present a comprehensive analysis of the systemic issues in the child protection system. This will include detailed analysis of the circumstances of approximately 350 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people who were in contact with the child protection system on 31 December 2017. It will also present major recommendations for change to uphold our children’s rights and cultural security in the spirit of self-determination.