The Victorian children's commissioner has told BuzzFeed News the government must act swiftly to avoid another Stolen Generation of Aboriginal children.
Andrew Jackamos, the first Aboriginal person to hold the position of commissioner for Aboriginal children and young people, has told BuzzFeed News that the state government must "urgently come up with a plan" to implement the 77 recommendations contained in his report Always Was, Always Will Be Koori Children, or else risk another Stolen Generation of Indigenous kids.
"Sadly, we are seeing 9 out of 10 of our children placed in out-of-home care outside of our community," Jackamos said, "and that’s a huge concern going forward. We could potentially have another Stolen Generation based on the fact that 9 out of 10 times our children are placed away from their cultural practices."
The report, which was tabled in Victorian parliament on Wednesday, revealed staggeringly high rates of Koorie children being removed from their families.
Koorie children make up around 1% of the Victorian under-18 population, but they make up almost 20% of the children in out-of-home care.
Between 2013 and 2015 there was an almost 60% increase in Aboriginal child removals.
The majority of children were removed due to family and domestic violence: Eighty-eight per cent of the 980 Aboriginal children in out-of-home care had experienced family violence.
"There is real concern in our community about child removals and there is real concern about the level of family violence as well," Jackamos said. "If our community knows that we can eradicate family violence then you’re going a long way towards vastly reducing the number of kids in care. Our community knows that, but it’s very hard without support."
The Victorian Labor government has said it accepts the recommendations and Jackamos now wants a firm plan and commitment from both parties to deliver them.
"I’m cautiously optimistic, and you have to be optimistic, because we don’t have alternatives, and part of my caution is that governments come and go so I would love to see a bipartisan statement from both sides in government."
Read the report here:
Formerly with BuzzFeed News, Allan Clarke is a NITV reporter based in Sydney.
Contact Allan Clarke at arielle.benedek+AC@buzzfeed.com.
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