The purpose of these public hearings was to hear from Aboriginal leaders working in child protection as part of Yoorrook’s inquiry into the harm done to First Peoples by unjust laws and practices within this system.
Witnesses gave evidence about issues including:
- The lifelong impacts of child removal on the child, their family and community
- The harmful and enduring loss of connection to culture and kin that can result from child removal
- The need for greater investment in early intervention support for families to prevent child removal
- The importance of culturally appropriate early childhood education in supporting families and connecting children to culture
- A lack of understanding and respect for Aboriginal family structures and approaches to raising children that do not match white, middle class expectations by many child protection workers
- The need to better support kinship and/or mob care as an alternative to the current foster care system
- Racism and power imbalances affecting the services provided to First Peoples by government agencies
- The challenges to self-determination faced by Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations as a result of government bureaucracy and mistrust
- The cycle of children in the child protection system entering the criminal justice system
- The need to raise the age of criminal responsibility
- Innovative alternative approaches such as the Marram Ngala Ganbyu children’s court
Scroll down to view videos of the hearings, witness statements and evidence.