The Andrews Labor Government is taking urgent action to address the significant over-representation of Aboriginal children in Victoria’s child protection system.
Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos, has announced that she will chair a regular Aboriginal Children’s Forum that will shape policies and practices to reduce the number of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care.
Ms Mikakos announced the establishment of the Forum at a meeting of community leaders in Mildura this week.
Members of the Forum will include Aboriginal community leaders, chiefs of community service organisations that provide services for Aboriginal children and government representatives.
The Forum will meet quarterly at four different locations across Victoria. Each will be co-chaired by the chief executive officer of a local Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation.
The focus will be on the participation of Aboriginal people in the development of policy and service delivery while building the capacity of Aboriginal communities to manage and drive change.
Key areas of attention will be to: reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care; progress work on providing support for vulnerable Aboriginal children and young people; promote stronger Aboriginal families so children can thrive.
The Forum reflects the Labor Government’s belief that Aboriginal communities best know the challenges they face and how to provide effective prevention and early intervention.
The terms of reference and key reform options for the Forum will be finalised at a summit, to be held in August.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos
“The Andrews Labor Government is looking for solutions to drive down the unacceptably high number of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care.”
“We want to see fewer Aboriginal kids in child protection and more in kinder and happy families, giving them the support to do their best.”
“In Mildura this week I saw some Aboriginal services having real success in turning around lives and I’m keen to promote innovative ideas and programs for Aboriginal families right across the state.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Natalie Hutchins
“This Forum is an opportunity to continue to work in genuine partnership with the Aboriginal Victorian community, to ensure all Aboriginal children are given the best start in life.”
“We need to sit down and hear directly from the Aboriginal community, as the Aboriginal community know what’s best for their people.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020