The Apology represented a formal acknowledgement that the forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children was based on racist policies that caused unspeakable harm to our communities.
Children were forced off their lands. They were disconnected from their kin, Country, traditional languages and culture.
Today on Sorry Day, 13 years since the Apology, our Elders, families and communities still grieve these losses. And many families are being repeatedly traumatised by contemporary child removal practices. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are nearly 10 times more likely than non-Indigenous children to be in out-of-home care.
What the Elders call for resonates with the concept of responsive regulation. This means that regulators — in this case the child protection authority — need to take into account the cultures, behaviours and environments of the people they are regulating.
Principles of responsive regulation and those developed by the Elders offer a counter-balance to the current formalistic approaches of child protection services, such as mandatory reporting, forensic investigations, court hearings, timelines for termination of parental rights, and the adoption of children in care.