Timeline

Aboriginal Children’s Day Rally- Stop Ongoing Stolen Generations

4th August 2016

12noon @ The Family Law Court, Sydney

97-99 Goulburn St

Stop the mass removal of Aboriginal children
Stop the abuse of children in juvenile prisons and “out of home care”
Demand and independent review into all cases of Aboriginal children in “out of home care”

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Grandmothers Against Removals is a network of families directly affected by forced child removal. We are calling for protests on Aboriginal Children’s Day this year, to continue the fight against the mass removal of children from their families by “child protection” services, police and juvenile prisons across Australia. The torture of children in the Darwin youth detention centre is symptomatic of the institutionalised child abuse perpetrated by these systems of forced removal.

The number of Aboriginal children in “out of home care”, is higher than ever and rising rapidly. Far more children are being taken today than during the Stolen Generations of the 20th Century. The numbers have increased 400 per cent since Kevin Rudd’s “apology” for the crimes of the past. The proportion of children being placed with their Aboriginal family is also steadily declining. Many end up in the juvenile detention system and Aboriginal children 28 times more likely to be in prison than non-Aboriginal children.

This protest will take a stand for justice for the children abused in the NT prison and across Australia. We demand that the $150,000+ per child per year spent on keeping children in prison and $60,000+ per child per year in foster care is urgently redirected to community development and family support programs under Aboriginal control.

Independent review

Following protests by Grandmothers Against Removals in May this year, Brad Hazzard, NSW Minister for Family and Community Services (FACS), made commitments to reduce the number of children in care. One of these commitments was for a review of all cases of Aboriginal children taken from their families over the last 24 months. This has now been reduced to 12 months.

GMAR, along with the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW, have called for this review to be independent and Aboriginal controlled. We know many children have been taken unjustly, and held with nonIndigenous carers while their family are denied access. A FACS controlled review will be useless.

The review also needs a serious commitment of resources so action can be taken to restore children to their families with appropriate supports and opportunities.
Please support this important fight – if we act now we can help win an independent review as a stepping stone to deeper change.

Launch of the Bundjalung Ballina Grandmothers Against Removals

28th June 2016

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Sorry Day Rally Sydney- Bring the Children Home!

GMAR 26 may

‘Sorry Day’, May 26, will mark 19 years since the tabling of the Bringing Them Home report – a report which exposed the horrific impact of policies of forced Aboriginal child removal during the 20th Century. The report also detailed how many of the dynamics that led to the Stolen Generations continued in contemporary Australia, through the discriminatory actions of “Child Protection” departments in every state and territory. Since then, the theft of Aboriginal children has increased more than five fold and is now one of the most urgent crises facing Aboriginal communities.

On June 30 1997, there were 2,785 Aboriginal kids in “out of home care”. Now there are more than 15,000. The majority of these kids have not been placed with their Aboriginal families; and relatives are routinely denied ‘kinship carer’ status without justification.

Children, including newborn babies, are being taken from parents who are homeless, while social housing is under attack. Children are being taken from women experiencing domestic violence, or caught in addiction, while shelters and programs are closed down. Many families are being persecuted by Family and Community Services (FACS) simply for being Aboriginal. Grandmothers Against Removals (GMAR) is a national network initiated by families who are directly affected by the child removal crisis.

GMAR is fighting for the implementation of the recommendations of the Bringing Them Home report, to bring an end to continuing stolen generations. The report said: “Our principal finding is that self-determination for Indigenous peoples provides the key to reversing the over-representation of Indigenous children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems of the States and Territories and to eliminating unjustified removals of Indigenous children from their families and communities”

May 26 will be a National Day of Action demanding self-determination; along with demands for a Commonwealth-funded program to reunite Aboriginal children with their families and communities. Here in Sydney, GMAR will lead a march on the Redfern FACS office, demanding local implementation of the “guiding principles” that were negotiated with Tamworth FACS last year. These principles mandate family group-conferencing, rather than forced removal; and take steps towards local forms of self-determination.

Watch out on the GMAR NSW Facebook page for updates on actions in other towns and cities – or organise your own march on May 26!

https://www.facebook.com/events/582506925256664/


Sorry Day Rally, Brisbane- National Fight to Bring the Children Home

Sorry Day Brisbane 2016

Sovereign Women United are part of the national movement demanding that the close to 16,000 Aboriginal children in “out-of-home care” across Australia be brought home. On this national day of action we demand government funding for a reunification program and Aboriginal control of Aboriginal child welfare!

If you’re in Brisbane join the fight at Musgrave Park, 26th May at 10am. March to DOCS head office.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/105200729870327/


FLYER

Grandmothers Against Removals Sydney public forum: Getting organised locally to stop forced child removal

Saturday 30th April

12 noon

Redfern Community Centre

The continuing forced removal of children from their families is one of the biggest crises facing Aboriginal communities today. More children are being removed than at any time in Australia’s history, with almost 16,000 Aboriginal kids in ‘out of home care’ on any given night. More than half of these children have not been placed back with their Aboriginal family, despite the “Aboriginal placement principle” being mandated by law in every State and Territory.

This forum will discuss the recent formation of a Grandmothers Against Removals (GMAR) group here in Sydney and what action the local Aboriginal community wants to take to change the practice of Family and Communist Services (FACS) in the local area.

Grandmothers Against Removals (GMAR) is a national network that has been formed by families directly affected by forced removal to fight for change. Since forming two years ago, GMAR members have been at the forefront of challenging forced removals, with consistent work assisting families fighting to have their children returned, protests that have forced the issue into the national spotlight and negotiations with welfare departments in an attempt to change practice.

GMAR demands Aboriginal control of Aboriginal child welfare. We want to see resources and opportunities provided to struggling families, rather than the punishment and trauma of forced removal.

Gomeroi GMARs have negotiated a set of “guiding principles” with the FACS office in Tamworth. A new GMAR group in Ballina has just negotiated a similar agreement. The most fundamental of these principles is that FACS must engage in a process of family group conferencing, to find solutions to any issues while keeping children with their family. The “guiding principles” also allow for the formation of a local advisory group including both community representatives and Aboriginal services.

Please come to this forum and have your say about how we can push for change.


Workshop: Supporting Aboriginal families facing child removal
 
 
Saturday 12th March
11am- 3.30pm
Redfern Community Centre
29- 53 Hugo St, Redfern NSW
A grass roots movement against the rapidly escalating numbers of Aboriginal children being taken into “out of home care” is growing in strength. Grandmothers Against Removals (GMAR) held a strong protest in Canberra in February to mark the anniversary of the Apology and a new group, Werribee, has formed in Sydney to advocate for families caught up in the system.
One of the main challenges facing families being threatened with child removal is accessing good quality legal support to ensure their side of the story is properly heard, the Department’s concerns are properly understood and good communication and negotiation can occur to ensure the best outcomes for children. Current legal aid services are stretched to the limit. Volunteers wanting to assist can never substitute for a good lawyer, but we can help families to understand the allegations they are facing, assist them in getting their case organised and try to connect them with lawyers and other support services. This kind of support can make a huge difference in the eventual outcome of any case.
At this workshop we will hear from Cheryl Orr, a lawyer with many years of experience working in both child protection and family law matters, who was awarded Indigenous Lawyer of the Year in 2014.Cheryl will speak about steps volunteers can take to help families facing child removal to get themselves organised and connected. Come along and find out about how you can get involved and start assisting.
All welcome!

29 January 2016| GMAR Snap Protest at FACS| Strawberry Hills, Sydney

Friday 29th January 2016
12.30pm
Family and Community Services- FACS- Office
Corner of Chalmers St and Cleveland St
Strawberry Hills

Feb 13

No more! FACS is tearing families apart: we are fighting back!

The recently formed GMAR Sydney group is targeting this FACS office for it’s ongoing role in the forced removals of Aboriginal children from their families. These removals and placements of children in out-of-home-care often breach policies, occur in the absence of support or engagement with families and without restoration plans. Abrupt “stealth” removals have become standard practice, creating intense trauma and dislocation for the children, families and community at large.

Founding member of the Sovereign Grannies group in Brisbane, Aunty Karen Fusi, is flying in to speak at the protest about the devastation child removals have caused her family and building the fight back. Friday’s protest will demand an immediate meeting with FACS management. Families will be heard!

Currently, there are more than 15,000 Aboriginal children in “out-of-home care” on any given night. This is more children than were forcibly removed at any point in Australian history. More than half of these children have not been placed back with their Aboriginal family, despite the “Aboriginal placement principle” being mandated by law in every State and Territory. There has also been a national push for changes in legislation that are seeing many more children removed until 18 years of age, with new “permanent guardianship” laws either planned or in place across Australia.

Stop the stolen generations and bring children the home!
Bring banners and placards. Spread the word!

5 December 2015| GMAR Public Forum: Join the fight| Sydney
Sydney public forum: Grandmothers Against Removals and the fight against continuing stolen generations
Saturday December 5
2pm Redfern Town Hall

More Aboriginal children are being removed from their families by “welfare” agencies than at any time in Australia’s history – with more than 15,000 in “out of home care” nationwide. These numbers are rising rapidly. Services for struggling families are being cut back and tougher policies are being rolled out that see children removed for longer periods of time, including a push for adoption.

Grandmothers Against Removals is a national network, initiated by families who have direct experience of child removal. We fight against forced removals, for return of stolen children and for Aboriginal control of Aboriginal child welfare. We are preparing for a major mobilisation at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, February 11-13 next year to mark the 8th anniversary of Rudd’s Apology. We have just launched a ‘guiding principles’ document, negotiated with FACS in Tamworth, which if followed would see family group conferencing and a community role in decisions about how to deal with crisis situations, rather than forced removal. But we need to maintain vigilant to ensure these principles are actually implemented and spread out across the state and country.

Come along to this forum to hear about the work of the Grandmothers, share your stories about the fight against child removal and help make plans for the mobilisation in February.

9 December | STICS Forum marking UN Human Rights Day | Sydney

STICS

Click here for: media release | media coverage | audio | photos


 10 November | National protest against Stolen Generations to mark G20 | Brisbane Sovereign Tent Embassy

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Click here for: media release | media coverage | audio | photos


18 September | ‘Still Stolen’ Public Forum Sydney | Hosted by Amnesty Action Group Newtown & NASA

Flyer Uncle Albert           Flyer Aunty Hazel

Click here for: media release | media coverage| audio | photos


12 Sept | NSW Parliament | David Shoebridge delivers adjournment speech on GMAR

Yesterday in Parliament David delivered an adjournment speech on the important work being done in NSW by a group called Grandmothers Against Removals.

Watch the speech or click here to read the full text.


3-5 September | Speaking & Listening Tour NSW | Hosted by GMAR NSW & Greens MP David Shoebridge

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Click here for: media release | media coverage| audio | photos


16 July | Community Forum on Closure of Specialist Services feat. Uncle Albert Hartnett from NASA

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Click here for: media release | media coverage | video


10-11 July | National Forum against Ongoing Stolen Generations | Hosted by Brisbane Sovereign Aboriginal Embassy

See details for the National Forum below. If you would like to come along and be involved in the national movement, please contact Aunty Karen 0455 728 617, Ian 0407 687 016 or Jade 0437 084 595.

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Click here for: media release | media coverage| audio | photos


26 May | National Day of Action marking National Sorry Day 2014

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Click here for: media release | media coverage| audio | photos


25 May | Tell It How It Is; Keeping Our Children Safely At Home | Workshops at Mudgin-Gal Aboriginal Women’s Centre

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Click here for: media release | media coverage| audio | photos


10 May | ‘Whats Up DOCS?! Installation Artwork by Blak Douglas | Redfern

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Click here for: media release | media coverage | audiovideo


11 April | Rally outside FACS office | Tamworth

Bring the children home

Click here for: media release | media coverage | audio | photos | video


13 February | Rally marking anniversary of National Apology | Sydney

Rally February 13th @ NSW State Parliament

Rally February 13th @ NSW State Parliament

Click here for: media release | media coverage | audio | photos

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