The suffering of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families has been overlooked by the Federal Government or passed off as a state or territory responsibility for far too long. Unfortunately the current ‘emergency’ measures are restricted to the Northern Territory, short term and may not have a lasting impact. SNAICC - National Voice for our Children therefore continues to demand a properly planned response to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families across Australia.
- In SNAICC’s view, the way forward from here is for the Federal Government to lead the development of an action plan to fund short and long term measures and programs to reverse the over representation of Indigenous children in child protection and inadequate access to schooling and further education.
- The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children that have to be removed from their families for their own protection will continue to escalate – unless we escalate our efforts in relation to prevention, early intervention and family support. This will require a nationally planned response with formal funding agreements between levels of government to significantly lift investment in early childhood and other essential services.
- Evidence of the value to families, children and the broader community of investing in early childhood should not be ignored yet it is arguable that despite this evidence and wide spread community concern for the well being of Indigenous children governments are failing to provide Indigenous children with equitable access to early childhood development programs.
- Whilst the late 1970's and early 1980's saw some community based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child and family welfare agencies (known in many locations as Aboriginal and Islander Child Care Agencies AICCAs) established, these organisations require additional capacity. In most states and territories there has been a failure by governments to adequately support existing AICCAs or fund new AICCAs to meet community needs
- SNAICC believes that it is critical to work with communities, families and children in a manner which builds upon and extends their existing strengths. Even within the recently highlighted cases of remote communities gripped by the high incidence of violence and abuse there are families and programs which are achieving significant outcomes for children.