Agency loses funding

December 19, 2008 at 8:02 am | Posted in Around the Nation, Articles, Indigenous issues, Issues for Fostering, Media | Leave a comment
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The Australian has run a report about an agency providing care for indigenous children and young people which has lost it’s funding. You can read the full story here .

Cases like this raise the question of standard of care. We remove children and young people from situations where they are considered to be unsafe. However, how plausible is it to always demand that their new standard of care be above and beyond, for whatever reason, what a large percentage of the population are able to offer?
First and foremost we should be ensuring that all children and young people are receiving safe, nurturing care.


Foster Care Australia Fact-Sheet

September 20, 2008 at 12:25 pm | Posted in Around the Nation, Indigenous issues, Resources | Leave a comment

This is a useful overview of the context offoster care in Australia including statistics, definitions and other interesting facts.

Trans-generational healing

August 19, 2008 at 5:02 pm | Posted in Around the Nation, Child Protection, Indigenous issues, Media | 5 Comments

This Stephen Hagan has written an article looking at the trans-generational trends of separation of families looking particularly at the Australian Indigenous experience of the past two centuries. But although his articles is quite specific in its focus, reading the following excerpt the kinds of recommendations he’s calling for are probably relevant across all cultures in Australia given what we know about the cyclical nature of abuse and neglect problems. 

Hagen quotes from recommendations by Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) : 

Healing for victims and perpetrators of family violence and child abuse, Education for victims and perpetrators,Education in protective behaviour for very young children to lessen the chance of them becoming victims,

More education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, including those in remote communities, in sexual health, protective behaviour, life choices, rights, self esteem and parenting training.

Empowering community leaders who are trusted and respected in their own communities to help with healing and education

Programs addressing familial sexual abuse with elements to address the needs of the victim, the other children in the family,the non-abusive parent and the abusing parent.

It takes a community to raise a child but sadly with the escalation in Indigenous children being removed from their parents it would appear that many within our communities are not pulling their weight in looking out for children at risk.

We all need to be vigilant and not be frightened to report to police obvious signs of child neglect: patterns of late night partying, domestic violence, unkempt children, excessively untidy households; high grass, washing on line for days on end, empty car bodies and an accumulation of rubbish and beer bottles littering the yard, to name a few.

But above all parents ought to do more to protect their children by kicking their alcohol, drug or gambling habits or if it’s the partner who has the addiction ask them to kick it or be brave enough to give them their marching orders.

To do nothing and place those noxious addictions above the welfare of their children is inviting the prophetic words of Oscar Wilde who once said: ‘Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.’

Mirabella’s boycott unfounded

February 22, 2008 at 10:17 am | Posted in Around the Nation, Articles, Child Protection, Indigenous issues, Media, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

For the past month Opinion pages in newspapers around the nation have been filled with letters, some with praise, some with disagreement, over the Prime Minister’s Apology to the Stolen Generations. For me personally it was a very significant and dignified day where we, as a nation,  finally reached a maturity in realising and taking responsibility for horrific mistakes throughout history.

Of course, the whole apology has been a contentious area, and as reported by The Age, Federal MP Sophie Mirabella was one who disagreed and who, in fact, boycotted Parliament. While Sophie Mirabella is entitled to her opinion, however, I do feel that her argument that ‘condemning the past removal of indigenous children may scare welfare officers from protecting children in future‘ misses the mark. While even recently judges and other public figures have pointed to concerns over repeating a history of separation, in publically and officially recognising the flawed policies of removal based on race, Australia now has a new frame of reference for Child Protection which is purely based on simply that; protecting children. Surely the public Apology for racial bases for removal actually alleviates the risk of decisions being made for fear of comparisons to past policies.

For foster care too, the apology draws a line and separates past policies from today’s context and the aims of foster care, which is to provide temporary care for children until they can return home.

Queensland Judge in the spotlight

December 11, 2007 at 12:51 pm | Posted in Around the Nation, Indigenous issues, Media | 2 Comments

Andrew Bolt has written an article in his usual strong manner concerning the contentious sentence passed down by Judge Sarah Bradley in Cairns Queensland that has hit the media today.  Aparently, in the sentence remarks, the Judge commented that the girl “probably agreed to have sex with all” nine offenders.  The girl was ten at the time of the offence that took place in indigineous community Aurukun.  This story highlights a number of issues.  Firstly, the ignorant assumption that a ten year old girl could give legal consent to sex with nine men.  This comment shows a lack of understanding of the impact of sexual abuse on children, and the responsibility of all adults to protect rather than exploit children.  There seems to be a lack of awareness of the girl’s vulnerability.   Secondly,  the confusion of the legitimate protection of children with the devastatingly flawed government policies that lead to the creation of the stolen generation last century.  Notably, this article suggests the lack of support for the Judge’s decision from Aboriginal leaders.  Finally, I can’t help but wonder what supports were put in place to protect this girl as she was returned to her community.  During her time in foster care, it was evident that her behaviour was highly sexualised.  The foster parents clearly expressed their concerns.  Did she continue counselling when she returned to her comunity?  How was her birth family prepared for her particular needs?  It seems to me that the systemic support for this girl both before and after she was raped is under question.

Restriction without conviction

September 12, 2007 at 10:59 am | Posted in Around the Nation, Indigenous issues | Leave a comment

The Northern Territory continues to be in the limelight concerning the protection of children.  This article on the ABC news site  concerns labelling of people tried but not convicted of child abuse.  It is proposed that the Family Matters Court should be given power to restrict an individual’s proximity to children in the absence of a conviction.  From the article:

“Chief Magistrate Jenny Blokland says there are times when a criminal case cannot go ahead but there is still firm evidence that a child has been abused. “

The North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA)  has spoken out against the proposal.

I have known of a case of a foster child abused by her father who has had to experience the ordeal of giving evidence on more than one occasion due to a failure to secure a conviction.  Her distress and further trauma at the hands of the legal system that should  protect her is regrettable.  But I can’t help wondering if the above proposal could lead to some people being wrongly labeled.

Funding boost for indigenous foster care

August 17, 2007 at 2:03 am | Posted in Around the Nation, Indigenous issues | Leave a comment

Just came across this article on the ABC website – The NSW government is contributing $9 million towards bolsting indigenous care to create more placements for Aboriginal children with Aboriginal foster parents.  I wonder if similar action is being considered elsewhere around the country.

Making a stand

August 14, 2007 at 1:16 am | Posted in Indigenous issues | 2 Comments

Here’s an interesting story on the ABC website concerning child abuse and aboriginal communities from the perspective of an Aboriginal woman, Kerrianne Cox.  There is always more to be told for any given story where people are involved, and I really value Aboriginal perspectives given the national focus on indigenous child protection.  Kerrianne Cox is speaking and acting out loud to expose and stop child abuse in her community.

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