NSW Government must back critical child-protection Bill

This week NSW MPs will have the opportunity to vote in support of critical reforms to improve the child protection system for Aboriginal children and families.

After passing the Upper House in late February with the support of a broad coalition of Labor, the Greens, SFF, AJP and Fred Nile’s Christian Democratic Party, the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Amendment (Family is Culture Review) Bill 2022 is expected to be debated in the NSW Lower House this week.

The Bill implements many of the legislative reforms recommended by Professor Megan Davis in the 2019 Family Is Culture Review, which examined Aboriginal children and young people’s over-representation in out-of-home care in NSW. The Bill also seeks to implement some of the key recommendations of the FIC Review relating to increased early intervention support for families and a greater role for Aboriginal families and communities in decision making.

Recent analysis by Absec and the Aboriginal Legal Service found that the NSW Government has made little substantive progress on implementing the 126 recommendations of the FIC Review, two years on.

‘We stand with Aboriginal organisations including Absec and the Aboriginal Legal Service in urging the NSW Government to support the Family is Culture Review Bill,’ said PIAC CEO, Jonathon Hunyor.

‘It is unacceptable that the rate at which Aboriginal children are removed from their homes has worsened in recent years – with Aboriginal children now 11 times more likely to be in out-of-home-care than their non-Indigenous counterparts.’

‘Every year action is delayed, around 900 Aboriginal children are removed from their families. This remains a cause of lifelong trauma and grief. We must stop this cycle.’

‘We urge MPs to support the Bill and act now to reform the broken child protection system before it does further harm to Aboriginal children and families,’ said Jonathon Hunyor.

AbSec and the ALS are encouraging people to write to their State MPs, asking them to support the Bill when it comes before the Lower House.

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Towards Truth is a partnership between PIAC and UNSW Indigenous Law Centre.
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