Safe and supported: a National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2021 – 2031
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Safe and supported: a National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2021 – 2031

by Freya Lucas

December 15, 2021

SNAICC has welcomed the release of Australia’s next 10-year framework to respond to the needs of children and families experiencing vulnerability, Safe and Supported: National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2021 – 2031. 

 

Released by Australia’s Community Services Ministers, the Framework comes at a critical time, SNAICC CEO and Family Matters Co-Chair, Catherine Liddle said.

 

“Our children are being removed at an alarming rate, with little hope for reunification and keeping connected to their family, their community, their culture, and their story. What we need is transformational reform to turn the tide on child removals. And we are optimistic that this framework has the mechanisms to take action in the right areas by investing in Aboriginal-led solutions.” 

 

The National Framework marks a fundamental shift in national policy related to child protection and recognises the right to self-determination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

 

Developed through a co-design process with SNAICC and a national leadership group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child and family sector experts, the Framework will be critical to achieving Target 12 in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, to reduce the rate of over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 45 per cent by 2031.

 

“The plan acknowledges what we have often heard from our services, practitioners and people on the ground – that to change the way we do things at a systems-level, we must have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices at the table,” Ms Liddle said.

 

The Framework has committed to “progressive systems transformation that has Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-determination at its centre.This includes taking active steps towards families, communities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations partnering in child protection system design and administration.”

 

Over 1,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people people contributed to consultations to inform the framework, through workshops or via an online survey, with feedback captured in the SNAICC consultation report.

 

The National Framework commits to reform in each jurisdiction with a view to “fully embedding the five elements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle” – to keep children connected to family, community and culture.

 

It also commits to support delegation of authority in child protection to families, communities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations.

 

“With the Closing the Gap agreement and the National Framework, we have the tools to enable change – now we just have to put those tools into action. We must listen to our communities and be bold,” Ms Liddle said.

 

To see the report in full please see here

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