SNAICC calls for early intervention measures against COVID-19 for children and families
SNAICC used Close the Gap Day, acknowledged on 19 March, to remind the Australian population of the vulnerability of many First Nations communities, particularly the children and elderly people who reside within them.
As a result, SNAICC has called on the Federal Government to “communicate clearly and decisively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities about what they need to do to stay safe”.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities must continue to receive up-to-date warnings and advice, especially in local languages where English is not the first language, SNAICC said.
SNAICC CEO Richard Weston said that families may be experiencing anxiety about “the impending closures of schools and early education and care services” and that the Government needs to ensure early education and care services, particularly those educating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children such as Aboriginal Child and Family Centres (ACFCs) and Multifunctional Aboriginal Children’s Services (MACs), are resourced to cope with the ever changing environment that will be forced upon our communities during this difficult time.
“Our early education and care services are crucial for keeping our kids connected to culture. They need stability in these uncertain times and we know that routine is integral to keeping our children happy and thriving,” Mr Weston added.
Social distancing measures suggested by the Federal Government would be “a challenge for many of our families” he continued, particularly in more regional and remote areas where inadequate housing means many families are living in overcrowded conditions.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are more likely than non-Indigenous children to live in multi-generational households. Every action that can be taken to prevent this virus getting into communities where poor housing infrastructure exists must be taken early.”
To read the statement as issued by SNAICC in full, please see here.