This report reviews the progress of the Western Australian (WA) 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 WA Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sector leaders.
- WA has the highest rate of overrepresentation in OOHC nationally. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in WA are now 17.8 times more likely to be placed in OOHC than a non-Indigenous child.11 This represents a slight increase from the previous year (17.4 times more likely in 2016-17). Aboriginal children now represent more than 55% of the total children in OOHC in WA. 12
- There continues to be very limited Western Australian policy, programs, processes and practice that explicitly provides for or promotes child and family participation in decision-making.
- There are some processes in place to ensure that Aboriginal convenors are sought out for pre-hearing conferences, and the Department reports that it is undertaking work to attract and retain Aboriginal ‘signs of safety’ convenors. However, without appropriate legislation, policy or programs that support independent participation, family meetings may remain culturally unsafe and not allow for Aboriginal children and families to be self-determining.