Family Matters Report 2020
Family Matters is Australia’s national campaign to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people grow up safe and cared for in family, community and culture. The campaign exists to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 2040.
Unfortunately, the Family Matters Report 2020 reveals that children are continuing to be removed from their families at an alarming rate, with the majority of those children permanently separated from their parents.
The report found that without urgent action, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care is projected to double by 2029. In 2019, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were 9.7 times more likely than non-Indigenous children to be in out-of-home care, an over-representation that has increased consistently over the last 10 years.
The impacts of reduced household income and access to safe and healthy housing affects the capacity of families to provide safe and supportive care for children. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families are 10 times more likely to live in social housing than non-Indigenous families, and nearly one in three (31.4 per cent) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are living below the poverty line.
The new National Agreement on Closing the Gap was signed in 2020 and includes a target to reduce the rate of over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 45 per cent by 2031. This target can be met by increasing prevention and early intervention supports to families, and by supporting families to safely reunify when children have been removed.