In Western Australia more than half the children placed in state care are Aboriginal. The state government committed this month to reducing this over-representation, in a move that parallels the Closing the Gap Refresh draft target nationally. Despite concerns about another stolen generation, Australia has yet to act on a root cause – the difficulty Indigenous women escaping family violence face in finding safe housing.
Our research shows domestic violence and housing are linked as a cause of child removal.
Care for children is a cornerstone of Aboriginal cultures. Child removal often has severe mental and physical health effects, with risks of substance use, homelessness and incarceration.
Consequences are similar for children, who also suffer from cultural dislocation. Yet Indigenous children are admitted to out-of-home care at 11 times the rate for non-Indigenous children. Far from declining, rates are increasing – by 21% between 2012 and 2017.
This issue is not primarily one of isolated remote communities. The rate of Indigenous children in out-of-home care is highest in our major cities.
Authors: Kyllie Cripps, Scientia Felllow and Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law UNSW Sydney, UNSW