This report reviews the progress of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government in implementing the full intent of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle (ATSICPP). This review is conducted on the basis of the best practice approach set out in SNAICC, 2017, Understanding and Applying the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle – A Resource for Legislation, Policy, and Program Development and SNAICC, 2018, The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle: A Guide to Support Implementation.
This review is based on available documentation gathered through a desktop review and input provided by the ACT Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sector leaders.
- Key policy reforms have continued through this period, including the Our Booris, Our Way review and the A Step Up for Our Kids strategy. All recommendations of the review are in progress or have been completed, with the ACT Government driving some important improvements in early intervention.
- There have been no changes to legislation in the reporting period, with the right to self-determination remaining unrecognised. However, the Directorate has stated it is in the process of exploring avenues for legislative reform in partnership with community representatives through the new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Co-Design Forum, which is currently being established.
- The Directorate indicates that practice around family finding will be strengthened through cultural support for frontline staff, enhanced training and practice guidance.
- Aboriginal sector leaders report that families still find it difficult to engage in decision-making and have found avenues to challenge child protection statutory decisions, such as judicial review, inaccessible.