This review is part of a national series that highlights that there has been significant work undertaken in states and territories to strengthen adherence with the five elements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle (ATSICPP), but that overall implementation remains poor and limited. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continue to be separated from family and culture at alarming rates, and there are a lack of comprehensive approaches to involving children, families, and communities in decisions and services related to the care and protection of children.
- Victoria is the clear leader in implementing the ATSICPP, with an increase in and highest percentage of placement of Aboriginal children with family and kin in the country. Its investment in continuing the Kinship Care Model and transfer of case management of Aboriginal children to Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) demonstrates clear efforts to increase the number of Aboriginal children placed with family or Aboriginal carers. The transition of case management to ACCOs has also proven successful in increasing reunification rates.
- Sector leaders continue to be deeply concerned that the over-representation of Aboriginal children in care in Victoria continues to escalate year after year. While the Victorian Government’s commitment to advance self-determination and reduce the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care (OOHC) has been welcomed, stakeholders reported no evidence to suggest that current legislative, policy and program settings in Victoria will see the goal of eliminating over representations by 2040 achieved.
- Aboriginal family-led decision-making continued over the reporting period with 1,345 meetings held in 2018-2019. Aboriginal family-led decision-making is essential to successfully implementing the participation element; however, sector leaders continue to report inconsistency in practice. Hence, further work is required to ensure that families are in practice empowered to participate in decision-making.