‘Keep our kids in their own beds’: child care body

A national body representing the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children is asking the Federal Government to help stem the tragic numbers of Indigenous children going into out-of-home care or child protection.

SNAICC – National Voice for our Children has been running its national campaign, ‘Family Matters. Strong communities. Strong culture. Stronger children’ for about five years.

SNAICC CEO Gerry Moore said this week he hoped the Federal Government would be able to convince the Council of Australian Governments to take a unified approach to tackling the problem.

Mr Moore said there were currently about 15,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children not sleeping in their own beds at night — a number that was expected to triple by the year 2040.

“That’s why we’re working with the Federal Government and want them to take a leadership role at the COAG level so that there is bipartisan support with all of the states and territories to enable laws to not discriminate against our people in each of the states and territories,” Mr Moore said.

“Our biggest target at the moment is to get the Federal Government to come on board with bipartisan support and give commitment to have a COAG target so we can reduce the numbers of our children going into the child protection system and out-of-home care.”

Mr Moore said SNAICC had set up working groups in most states and territories to work with each of the governments.

It had also had talks with major political parties.

“We’re looking at having the working groups work with state and federal governments to look at legislation (and) make sure government is putting in place the Aboriginal Child Placement principle; making sure that governments basically are doing the right thing,” Mr Moore said.

By Wendy Caccetta

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