Family Matters – Strong communities. Strong culture. Strong children.

The latest annual report from Family Matters has detailed nation-wide data about the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care.

The disproportion between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island children as compared to non-Indigenous children across child protection systems continues to increase dramatically, projected to double within the next 10 years.

Churches of Christ in Queensland is one of 150 organisations that supports the Family Matters campaign aimed to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care within a generation (by 2040). 

What is Family Matters?

Family Matters – Strong communities. Strong culture. Stronger children. 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.

The Family Matters campaign is led by SNAICC – National Voice for our Children and a group of eminent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders from across the country. 

Key Family Matters Report 2019 findings:

  • There are 20,421 Indigenous children in out-of-home care, representing 37.3 per cent of the out-of-home care population, but only 5.5 per cent of all children in Australia.
  • In 2018, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were 10.2 times more likely to be residing in out-of-home care than non-Indigenous children.
  • The rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being placed with Indigenous carers dipped to 45 per cent in 2018, from 49.4 per cent the year before. 
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were 7 times more likely to be on a permanent care order until aged 18 and at risk of permanent separation from their families, cultures and communities. 
  • Nearly 1 in 3 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are living below the poverty line. 

Read The Family Matters Report 2019.

Our commitment

Our four core principles are that every child, young person and family is supported to thrive, not just survive and a genuine commitment to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island children and young people in the child protection system.

It is clear from The Family Matters Report 2019 that without substantial efforts to refocus policy and investment on prevention and early intervention, all children will continue to be at risk of separation from their families, communities and cultures. 

The Gili Burra Advisory Committee plays a critical role in influencing our work to achieve positive outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island children, families and communities. The committee provides cultural advice and considerations relating to our practice when working with children, young people and families across Queensland. 

As part of the growth of our Regional Engagement Program, we established seven Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Officer positions across Queensland, who will develop local regional development action plans for their area.

These plans will create more opportunities to work with, engage, hear, and empower local Indigenous leaders, children, young people, families and communities. 

How can you help?

Consider becoming a foster carer to help support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people remain connected to culture. Our Children, Youth and Families service has over 1,000 foster carers across Queensland, offering tremendous value to the community by providing safe family environments and homes, and helping children heal and grow.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have the right to grow up safe, with family and connected to community and culture, we are always looking for Indigenous foster carers so we have a greater capacity to place Indigenous children with Indigenous families.

Read about the different types of foster carers, or register your interest to attend one of our regular information sessions to learn more. 

Posted October 18, 2019 in News