The NSW government has been implored to urgently address the over-representation of indigenous people in child protection.
The Family is Culture collective – a group of 22 not-for-profit organisations – wrote to Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Monday to lobby for a funding boost in the 2020/21 state budget.
According to the collective, the NSW government has only committed to “preparing advice on their suggested response” by June 30.
The collective believes more than 400 Aboriginal children could be taken from their families by this time, based on the state’s current rates of removal.
They want additional funding to engage in early intervention for at-risk youth and an acknowledgement of the harm caused by family removal.
Tim Ireland, the chief executive of peak body AbSec, said in a statement this week that change had to be led by indigenous people.
“Aboriginal communities are frustrated by seeing report after report gather dust on department shelves while the outcomes for our kids only get worse … the time for change is now,” Mr Ireland said.
The funding is being sought to implement the 125 recommendations made in a Family is Culture review released in October 2019.
NSW Families Minister Gareth Ward said he would likely receive advice on the report in the first half of this year.
He said NSW had one of the lowest rates nationwide of indigenous children entering out-of-home care.
“A strong focus on seeing more children, improved practice and evidence-based family preservation programs has resulted in a 35 per cent reduction in the number of Aboriginal children and young people entering out-of-home care since 2015-16,” Mr Ward said in a statement on Wednesday.
Some 40 per cent of children in out-of-home or foster care in NSW are Aboriginal, according to the Report on Government Services 2020.
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