Out-of-home care services to transfer to First Nations control in historic commitment
SNAICC and Life Without Barriers recently announced a new partnership that will support an historic commitment from Life Without Barriers to transfer its out-of-home care services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-control within 10 years.
“The future of decision-making about the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is community-controlled. Our communities are the experts. We know that culturally-appropriate services designed, led and delivered by our services, get better outcomes,” SNAICC CEO Catherine Liddle said.
“We are pleased to work alongside Life Without Barriers through a framework that enshrines the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, and we look forward to this decision setting a precedent for future service delivery,” she added.
Speaking on behalf of Life Without Barriers CEO Clarie Robbs explained the motivation behind the decision.
“As we observe the distressing rates of Aboriginal children entering care, our organisation and Board are clear that we must make this commitment to children and their families if we are ever to realise giant steps towards Reconciliation,” she explained.
“We are grateful to our partnership with SNAICC and First Nations peoples to understand the most effective way we strengthen families to stay together with their children.”
Life Without Barriers will incorporate this decision into its upcoming Reconciliation Action Plan, Board Director Natalie Walker explained, noting that the organisation is “committed to be responsive and courageous so that self-determination can flourish”.
“The need for courage is most evident in the deeply troubling over-representation of First Nations children in the child protection system,” she added.
“With more than 20,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care, significant steps are required to reach the Closing the Gap target of reducing the over-representation of our children in out-of-home care to 45 per cent by 2031. Currently this target is not on track to be met,” SNAICC noted.
By supporting our children to be strong in culture, Life Without Barriers believes the initiative will also serve to support the sector on a much wider scale.
“SNAICC, as a member of the Coalition of Peaks, hopes this is the first of many initiatives that demonstrates genuine commitment to the priority reforms. We look forward to working with Life Without Barriers to keep our children front and centre of decision-making,” Ms Liddle said in closing.