There is a significant over representation of Aboriginal children in Victoria’s child protection system, according to the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services.
In 2013-14 there were 3856 Aboriginal children subject to notifications of suspected abuse and neglect, more than twice as many as in 2004-05.
Of these, 1249 cases were substantiated. This represents a 19 per cent increase in the last year and the highest rate in the last decade. The number of children in out-of-home care rose by 42 per cent in just 12 months.
Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos, and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Natalie Hutchins, said the figures demonstrate a failure by the previous Liberal Government and a need for sustained future action.
The Report on Government Services also showed that around 73.9 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were engaged in pre-school nationally - a gap of almost 18 per cent compared with the total population.
The Andrews Labor Government’s Royal Commission into Family Violence will provide many solutions, while a Ministerial Advisory Committee will provide advice on Victoria’s out-of-home care services – including the over representation of Aboriginal children.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Natalie Hutchins
“All Victorians should be concerned by these findings.”
“Addressing this issue requires a committed response. The Andrews Labor Government is doing its part, the Abbott Government needs to stop sitting on its hands and do their part too.”
“It is critical that the Abbott Government reverse its cuts to Aboriginal health, education, early childhood and justice services.”
Quotes attributable to the Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos
“The Andrews Labor Government is committed to closing the gap and supporting the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people."
"The Prime Minister tabled a report that shows pre-school education is one of the best ways to engage Aboriginal children and to set them up for life and redress disadvantage."
"I call on the Prime Minister to give funding certainty to Victorian children by funding his share of kindergarten, which he is refusing to do."
Reviewed 19 August 2020