National Coalition e-Bulletin December 2023


Dear Colleagues,                                                           [apologies for cross postings]
 

The 2023 Family Matters Report is now available  

On Wednesday 29 November SNAICC launched The 2023 Family Matters Report which examines government actions to address the over-representation and the outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in child protection systems. It highlights Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led solutions and calls on governments to support and invest in the strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to lead on child wellbeing, development and safety responses for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.  

This year’s report shows that child protection systems continue to fail Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, with the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children entering out-of-home care continuing to rise, exposing them to ongoing harm and trauma.  Click here to read the report. 

Key Findings Include:  

  •   22,328 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children currently
      in out-of-home care; 
  • 10.5 times more likely to be living in out-of-home care than non-Indigenous children; and 
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children represent 42.8% of the total number of children in out-of-home care but only represent 5.98% of all children in Australia.   

The Family Matters report presents Aboriginal-led solutions to what is working best for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and communities. It includes case studies from Aboriginal community-controlled organisations that offer culturally safe wraparound supports that ensure our children grow up healthy and strong in family, connected to culture and kin.  

Current trends indicate that the National Agreement on Closing the Gap’s Target 12 (to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 45% by 2031) will not be met. The data presented in the Family Matters report highlight the need for transformative change and highlight the solutions that need systematic support and sustainable funding.   

Development of a National Child and Family Investment Strategy

The development of a National Child and Family Investment Strategy (the Strategy) is a key component of Action 2 of the Safe and Supported: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Action Plan 2023-26. The Strategy will focus on shifting investment to prevention and early supports that address and prevent the underlying social determinants of child abuse and neglect.  It will also drive a shift in proportionate investment for child and family services delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, towards the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Organisations (ACCO) sector.  

SNAICC, the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak (QATSICPP) and Social Ventures Australia (SVA) have partnered to deliver the Strategy by June 2024. 
Transition impacts on non-Indigenous organisations

The transition of funding towards ACCOs over the years ahead will have an impact upon non-Indigenous Non – Government Organisations (NGOs) as sector funding profiles change as the funding base of the ACCO sector increases.  

On behalf of the National Coalition, Families Australia have been engaged by the Department of Social Services to undertake a complementary research project exploring the potential impact on non-indigenous (NGOs) when a portion of future child and family services funding will be transferred to ACCOs.  

  

Goals of the Families Australia / National Coalition project include: 

  • identifying primary organisational and operational challenges to be faced by mainstream NGOs from the transfer of funding allocations to ACCOs; and   
  •  identifying potential issues concerning future funding sustainability for mainstream NGOs in the child and family services sector.   

  

Activities to support this work will include: 

  • Multiple face-to-face group consultation sessions across Australia – including in remote/regional settings;   
  • interviews with non-Indigenous NGO providers – large and small –across organisations of differing size, scale and geography;   
  • research and presentation of case studies which highlighting the issues faced by non-Indigenous NGOs at different stages of transition;  
  • a national online survey  
  • a desktop review of the jurisdictional plans in each State and Territory for transition arrangements; and  
  • development of a comprehensive report with key findings and actionable recommendations for governments.    

The final research report – which will be developed in parallel to the National Child and Family Investment Strategy – is due mid-2024. If you would like to find out more about this project, or your organisation is interested in being a case study, please email: policy@familiesaustralia.org.au 

Safe and Supported Working Groups 

As previously reported, four Safe and Supported Action Plan Working Groups commenced in June 2023. The Working Groups address actions across both Safe and Supported: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Action Plan 2023-2026and Safe and Supported: First Action Plan 2023-2026.
Each working group has its own meeting cadence dependent of respective workplans. The working groups also have ‘side huddles’ (small groups which discuss specific issues in more depth, such as disability and place-based partnerships) outside of regular meetings. I acknowledge the efforts of National Coalition representatives participating in the working groups as processes and arrangements are established.
In October, Families Australia convened the first Safe and Supported Working Group Consultation Forum which was attended by National Coalition representatives of each of the working group members and people who had submitted an EOI for the working groups. This internal forum has been established to exchange information between those involved in the respective working groups and maintain on overall picture of collective progress of multiple streams of effort. This group will meet 3-4 times per year with the process to be reviewed in the second half of 2024.   
 

Updates on the progress of the working groups will also be provided at the National Coalition general member forums and AGM. If you would like further information on the working groups or the consultation forum, please email: policy@familiesaustralia.org.au 
 

Copies of Safe and Supported Action Plans 

Families Australia have a small supply of hard copies of the Safe and Supported Action Plans. If you would like to request up to 2 hard copies for your organisation, please email your request through to policy@familiesaustralia.org.au and provide your postal address.
 

Families Australia Annual National Policy Survey 2023-24 

The Families Australia Annual National Policy Survey 2023-24 is now live! Have your say on current and emerging policy issues facing families, children and young people in Australia! Families Australia is seeking the views of community sector workers, volunteers, researchers, sector stakeholders – and from families and young people themselves – on current and emerging national policy issues/trends impacting families, children and young people.  

Families Australia then draws upon survey feedback to develop their advocacy work and provide policy advice to the Federal Government on ways to increase the wellbeing of families, especially those experiencing the greatest vulnerability and marginalisation. Let Families Australia know what they should be focusing their efforts on by completing the short online policy survey via this link.
The survey should take 10-15 minutes to complete, and responses are anonymous.  The survey closes Friday 15 December 2023. Further information is available on the Families Australia website
 

Not yet a National Coalition member?   

You can become a member by emailing admin@familiesaustralia.org.au or visiting the National Coalition webpage at https://familiesaustralia.org.au/national-coalition/.  Membership of the National Coalition on Child Safety and Wellbeing is free.  

Thank you for your support and ongoing commitment to the safety and wellbeing of children and families.  
Hoping that everyone gets some time with their families over the summer break and has a chance to re-charge the batteries following a long 2023.
 

Regards,  

Jamie Crosby   

Convenor, National Coalition on Child Safety and Wellbeing   
CEO Families Australia   

P: 02 6273 4885   |   E: admin@familiesaustralia.org.au  

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures; and to Elders past, present and future.

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