The Annual Family Matters Report examines government actions to address the over-representation and the outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in child protection systems. It highlights Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led solutions and calls on governments to support and invest in the strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to lead on child wellbeing, development, and safety responses for our children.
This year’s report shows that child protection systems continue to fail Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, with the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children entering out-of-home care continuing to rise, exposing them to ongoing harm and trauma.
KEY FINDINGS OF THE 2023 FAMILY MATTERS REPORT INCLUDE:
- 22,328 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children currently in out-of-home care
- 10.5 times more likely to be living in out-of-home care than non-Indigenous children.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children represent 42.8% of the total number of children in out-of-home care but only represent 5.98% of all children in Australia.
The Family Matters report presents Aboriginal-led solutions to what is working best for our children and communities. It includes case studies from Aboriginal community-controlled organisations that offer culturally safe wraparound supports that ensure our children grow up healthy and strong in family, connected to culture and kin.
Current trends indicate that the National Agreement on Closing the Gap’s Target 12 (to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 45% by 2031) will not be met. The data presented in the Family Matters report highlight the need for transformative change and highlight the solutions that need systematic support and sustainable funding.
The most effective and immediate action the government can make to ensure the safety and protection of our children is to stand up a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Commissioner, with the legislated power to investigate and make recommendations on issues impacting our children.