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First Peoples

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this resource may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families. When the crisis began, SNAICC hosted fortnightly teleconferences with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early years services, together with one-on-one engagement with individual service providers, to understand the impact that COVID-19 was having on services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

This engagement highlighted several major issues exposed by the pandemic:

  • The restrictions impacted children’s ability to maintain connected to their culture and/or language.
  • Disruption and stress brought about by social and economic impacts of the pandemic have had, and are likely to have, significant ongoing impacts on the mental health of children and families.
  • The current early childhood education and care (ECEC) funding model is not well equipped to meet the support needs of families experiencing high vulnerability.

Key Recommendations:

  • That governments invest additional resources in Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) to address the mental health and wellbeing needs of children and their families during the recovery from COVID-19.
  • That governments increase investment into telecommunications to improve and upgrade infrastructure in remote communities to ensure that telecommunications are at a standard that enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to access essential services. Carers and children also need access to technological resource to access essential education and support services and for children to maintain contact with their families and communities.
  • The Commonwealth Government needs to create a dedicated fund to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families throughout the pandemic and recovery process, with prioritised investments in ACCOs.

 

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