The Department for Child Protection (DCP) today became the first state government agency in South Australia to formally commit through signing the Family Matters' statement of commitment to actively work to reduce the number of Aboriginal children and young people in out-of-home care.
By signing the statement, DCP is further demonstrating its commitment to work using a child focused approach, that ensures Aboriginal people and organisations participate in decisions that affect their children.
Since the release earlier this year of the state government's A fresh start response to the Nyland Royal Commission, DCP has been implementing planned changes across the department, including working with key government and non-government agencies, the community, families, children and young people to realise real and lasting change.
Signing the Family Matters Statement of Commitment highlights that DCP's pledge to ensuring Aboriginal children's right to culture and pursuing evidence based responses supporting, healing and strengthening families.
Family Matters is a national campaign to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people grow up safe and cared for in family, community and culture. Family Matters aim is to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in out of home care by 2040.
Over thirty per cent of all children and young people in care in South Australia are from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds. This over-representation is highlighted in the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission Report The life they deserve delivered by the Hon Margaret Nyland AM Commissioner.
The Government of South Australia's response to the report Child protection: A fresh start demonstrates that the government is committed to reorientating and building better systems that protect our children, improving parenting practices and supporting our carer community.
Quotes attributable to Cathy Taylor, Chief Executive - Department for Child Protection
"I'm proud that we're the first state government department in South Australia to make this long overdue commitment to change. We know there's an over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in out-of-home care, and we need to address this.
"By collaborating with Family Matters and other Aboriginal service providers, peak bodies and the community we can better understand the issues and develop solutions together to ultimately see fewer Aboriginal children entering out of home care in the first instance and keep Aboriginal children and young people in their communities in the long term.
"The solutions won't come quickly or easily, and working together is a must; and that means government and non-government agencies, communities and families, young people and children; for lasting change.
Quotes attributable to Leata Clarke, Chairperson Family Matters Working Group South Australia
"It's wonderful to see the Department for Child Protection signing on in support of Family Matters and we look forward to continuing our working relationship with the Department.
"We share the common goal for all Aboriginal children and young people: to maintain their strong connection to family, community and culture, to significantly reduce their need for removal and to ensure they have every opportunity to thrive.