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Aboriginal children deserve better

The NSW Government has proposed three key reforms in response to the Family is Culture Report, but does it go far enough? Not according to the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT (ALS) which says a significant number of recommendations remain unaddressed.

The Government has focused on the appointment of an Aboriginal Deputy Children’s Guardian, the formation of an advisory group selected by the Minister, and the formation of an internal taskforce to work with Aboriginal communities to drive implementation of the recommendations.

The Family Is Culture review examined the circumstances of 1,144 Aboriginal children who entered care in 2015-16.

ALS’ CEO Karly Warner said: “We strongly support increased oversight of the child protection system and welcome the NSW Government’s announcement of the creation of an Aboriginal Deputy Children’s Guardian, who must have standalone and independent powers.

“However, a significant number of the recommendations of the Family Is Culture report remain unaddressed by the Government’s response. In particular, the ALS is concerned that critical legislative reforms to safeguard Aboriginal children and promote active steps to support families have been delayed until 2024.”

Western NSW Community Legal Centre has supported the ALS in their call for early intervention aimed at keeping families together.

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