The Andrews Labor Government today passed new legislation that will empower Aboriginal communities and leaders to support vulnerable children.
Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos welcomed the passage of the new legislation as an important and vital step for Aboriginal self-determination and self-management that will have a significant impact for Aboriginal children
Section 18 of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 will enable the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to authorise the principal officer of an Aboriginal agency to assume responsibility for the welfare of a child subject to a Children’s Court protection order.
The change in legislation follows a successful pilot project through the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency.
The pilot employed a program manager, two case managers and a policy development position to manage child protection cases involving Aboriginal children in the DHHS north division.
A second pilot will now be conducted in a rural area. Expressions of interest have been sought from Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and operational divisions.
These two pilot projects will inform how the Labor Government will work with Aboriginal organisations to deliver the best care for Aboriginal children.
Earlier this year Ms Mikakos established the Aboriginal Children’s Forum to bring together Aboriginal community leaders, and experts involved in the delivery of child protection and out-of-home care services for Aboriginal children and young people.
It focuses government on ways to reduce the number of Aboriginal children and young people in out-of-home care, build the foundations for stronger and healthier Aboriginal families, and drive the momentum of Government, Aboriginal communities and service providers.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos
“This change will give Aboriginal communities and leaders greater responsibility for the protection of Aboriginal children.”
“Section 18 will enable community-led decisions regarding Aboriginal children that are culturally appropriate, which we know leads to better outcomes.”
“Aboriginal children are overrepresented in our child protection system and it is vital that we address these issues with targeted programs to achieve better results.”
Quotes attributable to Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency CEO Muriel Bamblett
“We welcome the passage of this legislation - this is an important step towards realising self-determination for Aboriginal people in Victoria.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020