Waminda Media Release – Urgent calls for cultural change in the NSW child protection system.

In November 2019, an Independent review into Aboriginal out-of-home-care (OOHC) in NSW made 125 recommendations for systematic changes within the NSW child protection framework. The review was commissioned by the NSW government and led by Professor Megan Davis, Professor of Law at UNSW, in conjunction with the Department of Community and Justice (DCJ) and in collaboration with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCO’s), including Waminda (South Coast Women’s Health and Welfare Aboriginal Corporation).

The data reveals that DCJ is not ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (ATSI) can exercise their right to self-determination, is relying on regulatory frameworks without taking individual, family, community and cultural needs into account, and has lost focus on the goal of child protection – to reunite families safely.

DCJ has also failed to comply with the ATSI Child Placement Principle. This Principle provides that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community be a partner in the design and delivery of child protection services, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who are not able to be cared for by their parents have the right to be brought up with their own family and community, that children, parents and community participate in significant decisions about care and protection and where an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child is placed in care that child has a right to develop and maintain connection with their family, culture, traditions and language.

Waminda says the review highlights the long-standing need for culturally safe case management services designed and delivered by First Nations peoples and their communities, such as those delivered by Waminda. It also highlights the fact that DCJ is an organisation founded upon institutional racism and white privilege. DCJ must be held accountable for their previous and on-going negligence when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, and Government must act to prevent another Stolen Generation.

Waminda encourages DCJ to work closely with ACCHO’s to fund and facilitate the delivery of early intervention and prevention services that lower the unacceptable rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in OOHC across NSW.

This is the only way that DCJ can implement genuine and meaningful participation by, and consultation with, First Nation’s peoples, as well as combat cultural bias in safety and risk assessments with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and promote connection with Community and Culture. The full report can be found here https://www.familyisculture.nsw.gov.au/

For more information please contact Faye Worner CEO Waminda 44217400, faye@waminda.org.au

July 8, 2020


Posted by: Renae Kilmister