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Advocates fear Indigenous kids are losing connections to their culture

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are around 9.7 times more likely to be in out-of-home care than non-Indigenous kids  Indigenous groups are concerned by new research that shows an increasing number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care are being placed away from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and carers. A report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) found the rate of Indigenous kids in out-of-home care (OOHC) living with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers has fallen over the past two years, from 47.9 per cent to 43.4 per cent.  The overall number of Indigenous children in OOHC has increased from 15,500 to 18,000, while the OOHC rate per 1,000 Indigenous...

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Alice Springs Indigenous social worker says youth crime fix is to remove kids

Key points: New Minister for Territory Families Kate Worden wants to "hold parents responsible" for youth crime in Alice Springs Police have confirmed an "upswing in property crime" in the city An Alyawerre man says kids should be removed from Alice Springs to ensure educational outcomes Indigenous leaders, families, social workers and police all agree that youth crime in Alice Springs needs to stop — but so far a solution has proved elusive. It is an issue the new Minister for Territory Families says is at the top of her agenda. Kate Worden travelled to Alice Springs to meet key stakeholders in child protection, youth outreach and public housing safety officers — and some of the young people out on...

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Inquest into deaths of Territory children known to sniff solvents, skip school

Warning: This story contains details which may be distressing for some readers. Key points: The court heard three children used volatile substances over an extended period They all had poor school attendances and were known to Territory Families Counsel assisting the coroner said all three were "denied treatment plans" The family of a 12-year-old boy was told he was "too young" for rehabilitation three times in the year leading up to his death from petrol sniffing, the Northern Territory coroner's court has heard. The child's death is one of three being examined at a joint inquest underway in Darwin, the second combined inquiry in a month called to cover the deaths of multiple young people and the failings of government...

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Child Safety accused of discrimination in case of intellectually disabled couple who asked for help with baby

Key points: The child's parents contacted Child Safety soon after her birth to organise for her to be cared for by a relative interstate The parents moved to live in the same city as the relative, but the child has so far remained in Tasmania with her foster family The child's former case worker has been advocating for the family Tasmania's Child Safety Service has been accused of discriminating against an intellectually disabled couple who requested help with their baby girl, only to have her removed from the family's care without appropriate advice on their rights. The baby's parents, both of whom identify as Tasmanian Aboriginal and were homeless at the time of her birth, contacted the Child Safety Service...

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Indigenous children with hearing loss are getting help thanks to a new screening tool

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have some of the highest rates of ear infection in the world, and it can often lead to hearing loss. But a new screening program is helping identify the problem much earlier, before it becomes permanent. Just months ago, three-year-old Tjandamurra Cavanagh struggled to hear. He suffered from multiple ear infections and a burst ear drum before being diagnosed with chronic hearing issues. His father Luke Cavanagh, a Bundjalung man who lives in Newcastle, says it made it incredibly difficult to communicate with his toddler. “He'd just hum or he'd be crying, screaming at us because we couldn't understand anything he was saying, it was hard,” he told SBS News. “It was frustrating because we didn't...

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