Aboriginal children ‘unnecessarily’ removed from families, communities in SA, report finds – ABC News

South Australia’s Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People says First Nations children’s rights are being “trampled on” by what she describes as an “institutionally racist” child protection system.

In the Holding on to Our Future report tabled in SA parliament on Wednesday, Commissioner April Lawrie found that in a single calendar year, one-in-two South Australian Aboriginal children are reported at least once to child protection authorities, and one-in-10 are placed in out-of-home care.

The 176-page report has made 48 findings and 32 recommendations to reduce the number of First Nations children in the child protection system.

“The state is unnecessarily removing disproportionate and growing numbers of Aboriginal children from their families and communities, causing long-term harm to their health, wellbeing and life chances,” Ms Lawrie said.

They are removals that could have been avoided where removals often become the first option rather than the last resort,” she said.

“Our families could have been afforded referrals into early help services to address the underlying causes of the issues in the first place that have them, before child protection.”

She warned that unless change was made, First Nations children would enter state care at rates similar to those of the Stolen Generation.

Last financial year, SA’s Department for Child Protection removed 105 babies, aged under one month, from their mothers.

About one third of those were Aboriginal, and most were removed before they were one-week-old.

Ms Lawrie said mothers had told her they had experienced “revolting grief” after their newborn babies were removed by child protection authorities.

“They were the last to know that there had been a plan in place during their pregnancy that they were unaware of to conduct a removal without their knowledge until the point of delivery,” she said.

“This abhorrent practice of uninformed removals in birthing hospitals needs to cease.”

Source: Aboriginal children ‘unnecessarily’ removed from families, communities in SA, report finds – ABC News

2 thoughts on “Aboriginal children ‘unnecessarily’ removed from families, communities in SA, report finds – ABC News”

  1. I would take this with a grain of salt. I know from my own experience that it is very hard to get Indigenous kids into care. There is institutional racism all right but it is inverted so that kids who need care are not put into care for ‘cultural’ reasons.

    I actually went to the ombudsman in the NT after becoming sick of not being able to save indigenous kids from harm and death and we instigated the ‘Life Long Shadow’ investigation into the failings of the child protection system in the NT. I would imagine that SA child protection has similar failings.

    See also ‘Dangerous Territory’ ABC 4 Corners report on same issue.

    Everyone is way too scared of being accused of racism or another stolen generation to put their careers at risk saving these kids.

    It’s a tragedy really.

    1. But James are the alternatives really being explored? What is being done to support Aboriginal mothers to leave violent men? Our whole legal and economic system is structured to make it difficult for women to raise children independently of men. Indigenous women seeking to leave violent partners simply cannot find affordable accommodation in the Northern Territory and seldom receive adequate independent advice. It should not be a choice between homelessness or violence. I do not believe removing children from their mothers is the solution to male violence.

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