Among the most significant powers exercised by governments is that of removing children from their families. Potential reforms before the NSW parliament this week would expand this power in frightening ways.
The reforms contained in the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Amendment Bill represent a radical shift in basic child welfare principles. These changes could make removals more permanent, while dispensing with core safeguards and transparency measures. It is Aboriginal communities who stand to lose the most.
Children are already being removed from Indigenous communities at an unprecedented rate. Indigenous children make up 36.9% of children in out-of-home care in Australia, despite being just 3% of the population.
And stakeholders ranging from the Kinchela Boys Home Aboriginal Corporation to the peak body for Community Legal Centres NSW are fearful that, if passed, the NSW legislation will force adoptions and create another Stolen Generation.