Statistics from the Productivity Commission show that as June 30 2017 there were a record number, 17,664, Indigenous children in “out of home care”.
This represents almost 37% of the 47,915 children in out of home care across the country. Indigenous children are 5.8% of all children in Australia.
In 2007, the year before the apology, there were 9,070 Indigenous children in out of home care.
When Aboriginal children are taken they are also less likely now than at the time of the apology to be placed with relatives or kin. Kinship placement is meant to be a fundamental part of the Aboriginal Child Placement principle. If Aboriginal children are taken then priority must be given to placing them with family or kin.
The proportion of Aboriginal children taken and then placed in kinship care has fallen from 54.8% in 2008 to just 50.1%in 2017. Not only are more Aboriginal children being taken, but they are also more likely to be cared for by strangers once taken.
The number of Aboriginal children taken from their families and placed in out of home care has grown by 95% since Kevin Rudd made his apology to the Stolen Generations.
Greens NSW MP and spokesperson for Justice and Child Protection David Shoebridge, said:
“Sorry is supposed to mean you don’t do it again. What these figures prove is that the stolen generations is not a thing of the past, it’s happening right now.
“In NSW, Aboriginal kids are 7 times more likely to be taken than non-Aboriginal kids.
“Indigenous kids are not 7 times more likely to suffer abuse or neglect.
“The disparity is down to institutional racism and failure to deal with generation trauma and poverty, the result of colonial violence and dispossession.
“We need to go far beyond changing the date of Australia Day to address these kinds of systemic injustices faced by Indigenous Australians.
“Fixing this tragedy starts with respecting the longest continuous living culture on the planet and handing self-determination and control of their families back to this continent’s First Peoples.
“Aboriginal people with the collective wisdom of their grandmothers, elders and parents, know far better how to care for Aboriginal children than non-Aboriginal people do.
“We must confront the ongoing impacts of invasion, challenging institutional racism and racist policy making, said Mr Shoebridge.