Guiding principles for strengthening the participation of local Aboriginal community in child protection decision making

Click here to view the “Guiding  principles for strengthening the participation of local Aboriginal community in child protection decision making” developed by Grandmothers Against Removals.

Purpose: This document creates a set of guiding principles for FACS and local Aboriginal communities to work together in the practical application of the Act and relevant policies. The aim is for the document to be used by individual communities and FACS District offices across NSW to establish and guide their working relationship. It also sets out the structure of a State Wide Advisory Group to oversee the implementation of these guiding principles. These guiding principles envisage Aboriginal communities forming their own local advisory groups to:

• ensure Aboriginal community participation in decision making regarding the care and protection of Aboriginal children, as required under the Act and ACIF;

• support Aboriginal families and reduce the number of forced removals of Aboriginal children from their immediate and extended families;

• improve the access by Aboriginal people to local services and supports, and where recquired, interagency cooperation; and

• develop pathways of family restoration for Aboriginal children currently in out-of-home care.

The document is not intended to bind local communities. Rather, it aims to support Aboriginal self-determination by presenting a template that has been endorsed by GMAR, FACS and the NSW Ombudsman and can be adapted to suit the needs of individual communities. It will be important that this document is promoted widely to Aboriginal communities across NSW to enable them to opt into the arrangements it establishes and fulfil the new functions envisaged for local communities effectively.