The Indigenous Child Protection Project

Related Project: Indigenous Justice

October 31, 2017

Photo: Flickr/ Victor Galitskye

We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children flourish when they are safe and connected to their culture, families and communities. The Indigenous Child Protection Project (ICPP) will tackle the systemic barriers that are preventing this from happening.

The ICPP is an innovative partnership between the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT (ALS). Together we will bring about practical changes to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families in the child protection system. 

The need for urgent action

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are over 10 times more likely than non-Indigenous children to be in out-of-home care in NSW. On current trends the population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care nationally will almost triple in size by 2035.  

More than 20 years after the Bringing Them Home report into the Stolen Generations, these alarming trends sound an urgent call to action. 

Legal barriers are a key factor contributing to the increasing rates of removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Necessary reforms that have been identified by Indigenous organisations include: 

  • implementation of the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle;
  • planning that respects the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to family and culture;
  • assessment that is culturally appropriate and free from bias; and
  • in decisions across the child protection and family systems.

How the project will achieve results

The ICPP combines the ALS’s years of experience representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in care and protection proceedings with PIAC’s expertise in strategic litigation and policy advocacy. 

The project will see a full-time lawyer working between the ALS Care and Protection team and PIAC to coordinate a strategy to achieve change, using a combination of law reform, policy advocacy and strategic litigation. 

The project has been developed in consultation with leading Indigenous organisations, including SNAICC – National Voice for Our Children, and supports the objectives of the national Family Matters campaign. While the project will focus initially on changes to the NSW child protection system, it is of national significance and will provide a model for improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children Australia-wide. 

How you can help

With your support, we will work to reverse the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the child protection system. 

In the first year, we will:

  • work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families to secure better outcomes;
  • develop a strategy, including a framework for impact measurement, in consultation with Indigenous stakeholders to address systemic barriers and help to achieve the goals of the Family Matters campaign; and
  • commence strategic litigation and advocacy for reform to improve the child protection system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. 

You can make a donation here. For further information on the Indigenous Child Protection Project, contact Brooke Greenwood on (02) 8898 6556 or bgreenwood@piac.asn.au.

Pin It on Pinterest