By NSW political reporter Liz Foschia
The New South Wales Minister for Family and Community Services has conceded the number of Aboriginal children in care around the state is too high.
Pru Goward has made the admission ahead of a rally of Aboriginal grandmothers at State Parliament today.
It is six years since the Federal Parliament’s apology to the Stolen Generations, but for Aunty Hazel it has meant nothing.
She says her grandmother and aunt were forcibly removed from their families and now four of her grandchildren are in care.
“You can’t say sorry to a nation of people when the incident has never stopped,” she said.
Her surname and the details of her case have not been published because of a pending legal case.
Aunty Hazel is one of a group of Gunnedah grandmothers fighting for young family members to be returned.
Minister Goward says it is not always possible to place at-risk children with another family member.
She says around 6,000 Aboriginal children are currently in out-of-home care in NSW.
“There’s no denying we have too many children in out-of-home care who are Aboriginal,” Ms Goward said.
The number of children in care increases every year, but Ms Goward says the Government has slowed the rate of increase.
The does not satisfy Greens MP David Shoebridge, who says not enough is being done to work with the families.
“They say removal is the last resort but when you go and talk with the families, particularly in regional NSW, often what they say is their first meaningful contact with DOCS is a Friday afternoon special, when DOCS turn up and remove the children and they’ve got no access to support over the weekend,” Mr Shoebridge said.