Fears over Aboriginal child removals as report reveals 'endemic racism' in WA Department of Communities

This is the old "Stolen Generation" myth again.  There is one and only one reason why so many Aboriginal children have been relocated:  Aboriginal families are very hard on their children.  Parents -- particuilarly fathers -- are often neglectful and too often violent to their chidren.  Relocating them is a mercy to them

The author of the 2019 report says she does not think any of her 49 recommendations have been acted on by the WA government
The report by Indigenous Psychological Services (IPS), which was commissioned by the department to examine its cultural competency and child protection standards, was finalised in October 2019 but never released publicly.

The recently leaked report painted a damning picture of the department, including evidence of "endemic racism", and found that of the 295 child protection staff who were surveyed, not one felt culturally safe in the department's workplace.  

Psychologist and Nyamal woman Tracy Westerman, who headed the report, told the ABC that racism was a driving factor behind the over-representation of Indigenous children in state care.

Despite only 4 per cent of the WA population being Indigenous, the Department of Communities' 2017-2018 annual report showed 55 per cent of the children in state care were Aboriginal.

By 2020-21, the annual report stated  that of the 5,344 children in care, 3,056 were Aboriginal — an increase of more than 2 per cent to 57.2 per cent.  

Aboriginal Family Legal Service WA chief executive Corina Martin agreed with Dr Westerman, saying she expected rates of Aboriginal children being removed from their families to continue rise. 

"[The department is] more in line with assimilation than they are with trying to help families," Ms Martin said.

"I think what they're trying to do is make a black mother become a white mother and it's not going to work."

Family Matters report released

The number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children entering the child protection system could increase by more than 50 per cent over the next decade without "wholesale change to legislation, policy and practice", a report finds.

Department of Communities assistant director general for Aboriginal outcomes Cheryl Smith said claims that child removal rates would rise, were not backed up by child protection data. 

She said in the last reporting year, there was a reduction in the total number of Aboriginal children in care for the first time since 1997. 

"Encouragingly, this trend has continued into the new reporting year, with the current number of Aboriginal children in care fewer than 3,000 children for the first time since 2019," Ms Smith said.

However, while the overall number of Indigenous children in state care fell slightly, the proportion of Aboriginal children compared to non-Indigenous children in care increased


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