The NT Government wants to recruit and support Aboriginal foster and kinship carers.
There are more than 1000 children in out-of-home care in the NT and almost 90 per cent of them are Aboriginal.
The $5,4 million investment over four years is a key recommendation from the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children and is additional to the $120 million annual investment in out-of-home care services.
From that funding pool, $4.2 million is allocated specifically to fund three Aboriginal-controlled organisations across the Territory to increase their capacity to identify family or other suitable Aboriginal carers for children, and to provide them with culturally appropriate support.
The remaining $1.2 million will be invested to improve training for all foster and kinship carers, and to expand the use of interpreters so that families can participate in making decisions about their children in their first language and understand what is happening.
Funded organisations will play a vital role in providing culturally responsive and local approaches to addressing the need for more Aboriginal carers for Aboriginal children across the Territory.
Funded organisations will focus on improvements in two key areas:
Territory Families Minister Dale Wakefield said: "Every child deserves a childhood were they are safe and connected with their culture and identity. The Government is investing in the most vulnerable children in the early years to change their pathways in life.
“We currently have over 1000 children in out-of-home care and almost 90% of these children are Aboriginal, we need to address this overrepresentation and ensure that every child has a bright future.
“The child’s safety will always be the most important factor in placements. It is also essential that our reformed out-of-home care system empowers and gives a greater decision-making role to Aboriginal people and Aboriginal-controlled organisations.”
Dr Christine Fejo-King, Policy and Social Work (PhD), External Expert Member of the Clinical Governance & Professional Practice Committee said: “Placing Aboriginal children with Aboriginal kin grounds them in who they are and where they belong. The fundamental thing about being human – the need that everyone has – is to know who you are and where you belong in the world.
“I support programs such as the Aboriginal Carers Growing Up Aboriginal Children grants because Aboriginal organisations are best placed to deliver these services. This is because they are part of the community. They are Aboriginal people working for Aboriginal people with Aboriginal people.
“I would like to see the Aboriginal community come out strongly and take their place as the guides and mentors and strengths of their children for the future.”
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