4 Sept | ABC | Moree meeting discusses child removal problems

A former Moree community services worker says the Department of Family and CommunityServices needs to change the way it interacts with Aboriginal families.

Aboriginal families gathered in Moree on Wednesday, to discuss ongoing concerns about the removal of children considered ‘at risk’.

Debby Swan has called for an improvement in the understanding of cultural issues.

“Hopefully the government will make changes to their acts and their policies and be more culturally sensitive,” she said.

Greens MLC David Shoebridge has called for structural and cultural change in the Department of Family and Community Services.

“There are two things that are done, one is demanding an answer from the Minister about individual cases,” he said.

“But more fundamentally, looking at ways that we can reform the system so that a great deal more weight is given to the views of the community, [and] that Elders and members of the community be routinely consulted, and not just consulted but listened to by FACS, before child removals happen in the first place.”

The MLC was present for the meeting.

“I think you’ve got an obligation as an MLC where you get case after of case of this presented to you, where you get – I’ve got to say – a pretty minimal response at a Parliamentary level,” Mr Shoebridge said.

“You have an obligation to look for change and drive change wherever you can and this is going to require more than just one or two MP’s coming on board, this is going to require cultural and structural change in the Department.”

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