Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children in Care
Life Without Barriers works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and adults across Australia in almost all of our service delivery areas. We are committed to reconciliation and improving outcomes and opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is important that we make conscious, cooperative and determined action to ensure our work is founded on a keystone of justice.
As a leader in the social services sector, we must play our part in shaping the future and forging a way forward in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, so distinctive cultural identities are respected and self-determination is supported along with the sharing of economic benefits and opportunity. Life Without Barriers is currently implementing its third Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), a Stretch RAP. Our Stretch RAP guides and directs our commitment and work in supporting reconciliation.
Life Without Barriers supports and adheres to the Aboriginal Placement Principle for all children in out-of-home care including foster care.
Why do we need an Aboriginal Placement Principle?
As a community we acknowledge the past hurts and suffering previous Government policy caused Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Principle acknowledges the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to raise their own families, in their own communities as part of their own culture.
What is the Aboriginal Placement Principle?
The fundamental goal of the Principle is to enhance and preserve Aboriginal children's connection to family and community and sense of identity and culture. In child protection legislation, policy and practice, the Principle has often been conceptualised as a placement hierarchy "guide" for Aboriginal children who are not able to remain in the care of their parents. In general, placement priorities in descending order start with:
- Within family and kinship networks;
- non-related carers in the child's community; then
- carers in another Aboriginal community.
What if you can’t find a kinship or foster care placement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children within their family or community?
When all efforts have been exhausted and a placement for the child in the three groups cannot be found, only then can organisations such as Life Without Barriers, look to place children in the homes of non-Aboriginal or non-Torres Strait Islander people. These Foster Carers, would also need to maintain the child’s connections to their family, community and cultural identity. Restoration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to their family and community, is the goal of the whole Care Team and is actively worked towards.
Information on Life Without Barriers Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan can be found here.
Further information on the Aboriginal Placement Principle can be found on Federal and State or Territory government websites.