The Family Matters Report 2021
The Family Matters Report 2021, launched on 9 December at the 9th SNAICC – National Voice for our Children National Conference, shows that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continue to be removed from family and kin at disproportionate rates. This is despite overwhelming evidence about the harm this causes to children, families and communities.
This year the report finds that a staggering 21,523 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were in out-of-home care at 30 June 2020, which represents one in every 15.6 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in Australia. 79% (17,068) of those children live permanently away from their birth parents.
Children are predominantly placed with non-Indigenous carers, with the proportion of children placed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers dropping from 53% to 42% between 2013 and 2020.
Commonwealth, state and territory governments have committed to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 45% by 2031 through the National Agreement on Closing the Gap – however according to the report, representation is expected to increase by 54% by 2030.
The report highlights the impact of poverty, homelessness, intergenerational trauma and social exclusion on families, and the inadequate responses.