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Over-representation

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are over-represented in child protection and care services compared to non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

‘The reasons for this are complex and are connected to past policies and the legacy of colonisation. Poverty, assimilation policies, intergenerational trauma and discrimination, combined with forced child removals, have all contributed to this, as have cultural differences in child-rearing practices and family structure.’ (Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC), 1997; SNAICC, 2016a; and Titterton, 2017 as cited in Child Protection and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, 2018)

Overwhelmingly, child protection data shows a pattern of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being substantially over-represented in every area of the child protection system. (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2018).

Further reading

For more information about over-representation see:

Australian Institute of Family Studies (2019), Child protection and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/child-protection-and-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-children

Practice prompt

Consider what you see when you visit remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

How might your assessment and application of the Framework for Practice, structured decision-making (SDM) tools and Child Protection Act 1999 (the Act) contribute to the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children entering the care system?

How can you change your practice to be culturally competent to help reduce the over-representation?

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