Thursday, 29 November 2018
First Nations Children
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) on 26 November 2018, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs tabled its report, Breaking barriers: a national adoption framework for Australian children,
(ii) the rate of First Nations children in out-of-home care is almost ten times that of other children, and the numbers of children removed during the time of the Stolen Generations is comparable to current removal rates of First Nations children,
(iii) when considering adoption as a part of our out-of-home care system, we need to consider the legacies of past policies and practices with respect to the separation of children from families, as well as practices of forced adoption for many women, and
(iv) these policies and practices have had, and still have, lasting impacts on the lives, health and well-being of many Australians;
(b) acknowledges approaches that ignore the voices of First Nations families and communities will do little to reduce the growing number of First Nations children in out-of-home care, and that the new adoption laws introduced in New South Wales are a cause of great concern to many First Nations communities;
(c) is very concerned about the growing trend to see adoption as the first and only option for stable families; and
(d) calls on the Federal Government to make it a priority to adopt the major actions identified by the Family Matters Coalition, which includes a commitment to developing a National First Nations Children's Strategy.
This government has been working collaboratively with state and territory governments to ensure that all children across Australia have access to a safe and stable home. We will continue to work together towards permanency reform for the 48,000 children in out-of-home care who cannot return to their families and ensure that they have a safe, stable and loving home. Wherever possible and appropriate, children should be supported to safely remain with their family through prevention and early intervention measures. The best interests of the child must always be paramount in permanency decisions.
Question agreed to.