Increase in rate of Indigenous children outside the home in Vic

Indigenous children are 20 times more likely to be removed from their homes than other Victorian children, according to a new state government report.

The 2020 Indigenous Affairs Report, tabled in Parliament on Thursday, highlights an alarming increase in the number of First Nations children in state care.

In mid-2020, 2,450 Indigenous children in Victoria were living away from their homes, up from 734 in 2008/09.

This dropped the overall rate of Indigenous children in child care statewide from 37.7 to 99.8 per 1,000, meaning that nearly one in 10 lives outside their home. .

This is in stark contrast to Victoria’s non-Aboriginal child care rate of 4.7 per 1,000 children, which is 20 times lower.

The report points out that this is the highest rate of any state or territory in Australia and almost double the national average, 11 times higher.

Over the same 11-year period, he showed that Victorian Aboriginal suicide attempts fell from 3.1 per 1,000 people to 17.5 per 1,000.

Incarceration rates for First Nations women are also 22 times higher than those for non-Aboriginal women, and their number of inmates has almost doubled since 2007-2008.

The Victorian Greens have accused the state government of letting down Indigenous children and women and calling for urgent justice reforms to “end cycles of systemic discrimination.”

“Any commitment to a treaty and a truth commission process becomes less meaningful when you allow such things to happen under your watch,” said Head of State Party Samantha Ratnam in a statement.

“This government must invest more in early intervention and family support services.

While calling the numbers “relevant,” the report cites changes in data collection as being partly responsible for the increase, including improved identification and documentation of Aboriginal status.

“Reducing overrepresentation in health care services remains a key goal, while increasing the proportion of Indigenous children and youth placed with Indigenous caregivers or parents,” the report said.

In more positive news, nearly four in five Indigenous children (79.3 percent) in care are now placed with parents, parents or other Indigenous caregivers.

This represents an increase from 57.7 percent in 2008-2009 and is in line with the government’s strategic goal of ensuring that Indigenous children are raised by Indigenous families.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Gabrielle Williams said the government made a record $ 448 million investment in the sector in this year’s budget, while the 2020 report showed significant improvements in many areas.

“We have made significant progress in closing the gap for Victorian Indigenous people over the past year, including our cutting edge work on treaties, truth and justice – but there is still a lot of work to do. to do, ”she said in a statement to the AAP. .

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