The alarmingly high number of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander children in state care is among the issues discussed at a child protection roundtable in Brisbane.
“There have been three inquiries into child protection in less than 15 years,” says PeakCare Qld Executive Director Lindsay Wegener. “During that time we’ve seen the proportion of children in care who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander grow from 23 to 37 and now 41 per cent.
“This growth in terms of both real numbers and percentage means Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are grossly over-represented. Past inquiries have shown that the child protection system has not worked well for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. Is this going to be subject of our next child protection inquiry?” asks Lindsay.
The PeakCare roundtables provide the first chance since the state election to provide feedback to state government on child protection concerns. The Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak is participating. The Child Protection Peak say the trajectory of increasingly disproportionate representation must be tackled as a high priority
“The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in state care has reached the highest level ever recorded in Queensland,” says the Child Protection Peak CEO Natalie Lewis. “We recognise that reversing this demands a long-term commitment over many years. But the immediate need must be to give Indigenous initiatives greater priority
“A clear strategy is needed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled organisations to play a central role developing and delivering child protection services. Greater support is also needed to strengthen these organisations so they can do this work,” says Natalie.