19 Dec 2016
Every Aboriginal child taken into Out Of Home Care during the past year will have their case investigated under a landmark review set up by the NSW Government.
Family and Community Services Minister Brad Hazzard said Professor Megan Davis from the University of New South Wales will head a committee of aboriginal leaders who will review the case files of 1200 Aboriginal children and young people.
"Professor Davis is one of the most respected authorities on Indigenous issues in the world and I am confident the committee led by her will help us understand why there is such an overrepresentation of Aboriginal children in care," he said.
"There was a 15 per cent increase in the number of Aboriginal children entering care from 2011 to 2016 compared to a 3 per cent increase of non-Aboriginal children. We need to understand why this is occurring to address this alarming trend."
The committee will initially focus on Aboriginal children and young people who entered care this year, and will look at restoration options, as well as learnings that will help reduce the overall number of Aboriginal children entering care.
The review follows the Our Kids our Way: Hearing the Voices of Aboriginal People Ministerial forum held earlier this year, where Aboriginal people shared their experiences and concerns regarding the over representation of children in care.
Professor Davis, who is also the Chair and UN expert member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples, welcomed the opportunity to chair the review given concerns in the Aboriginal community about the rate of child removal.
"The rate of removal is alarming and this is an important opportunity to examine the implementation of the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle," Professor Davis said.
The committee is part of a wider NSW Government reform to address the complex needs of vulnerable children, young people and families, with $90 million committed over the next four years for new family preservation and restoration services.
Under the reform, 50 per cent of these new intensive family preservation places will be dedicated to Aboriginal children and families, which will provide more support for Aboriginal families.