Placement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

Graphs

Proportion of Indigenous children living away from home placed with kinship, Indigenous carers or Indigenous residential care services, Queensland, as at 30 June 2007 to 2011 Proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care placed with kin, other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residential care services, Queensland, as at 30 June 2015 to 2019

YearProportion
2007 58.5 %
2008 56.7 %
2009 58.2 %
2010 53.8 %
2010 52.5 %

Tables

DescriptionAnnualQuarterly
AC.1: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care, by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status and relationship of carer, Queensland Excel (XLSX, 15 KB) Excel (CSV, 5 KB) Excel (XLSX, 16 KB) Excel (CSV, 5 KB)
AC.2: Percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living away from home placed with kin, other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residential care services, by region, Queensland Excel (XLSX, 14 KB) Excel (CSV, 3 KB) Excel (XLSX, 14 KB) Excel (CSV, 3 KB)

What is relevant when placing an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child?

When working with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, young person or family the department must apply each of the five elements of the Child Placement Principle, those being prevention, partnership, placement, participation and connection.

When placing an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child or young person in care, the department is required to give consideration to placement with a member of the child's family group in accordance with the additional elements in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle (section 5C and section 83 of the Child Protection Act 1999 (the Act).

The Act requires that in making a decision about who the child should be placed with, the chief executive (Director-General) of the department must give proper consideration to the views of the child and the child's family, ensure the decision provides opportunities for the child to maintain connection with family, community, culture and country under Aboriginal tradition and Island custom, and give proper consideration to placing the child, in order of priority, with:

  • a member of the child's family group
  • a member of the child's community or language group
  • another Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person who is compatible with the child's community or language group
  • another Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person.

When the department is unable to place a child in accordance with the legislated placement provisions, consideration must be given to placing a child, in the following order, with:

  • a person who lives near the child's family
  • a person who lives near the child's community or language group.
  • Secondly, before placing a child with a non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carer, the department must assess the carer's commitment to:
  • facilitating contact between the child and their parents and other family members, subject to limitations on the contact under Section 87 of the Act
  • helping the child maintain a connection with their Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture
  • preserving and enhancing the child's sense of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander identity.

In placing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child outside of the home, the department must provide an opportunity for the child and the child's family, supported by an Independent Person (if the family chooses) to participate in the placement decision.

Data reports on the outcome where a placement decision was to place a child with a kinship carer, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander carer or Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander residential care service rather than reporting on the steps followed in making the placement.

Reporting against this measure does not include placements where the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander placement provisions were considered, but the child was unable to be placed in one of the preferred placement options specified. This may occur if a placement as described in the provisions is not available, or if it is not in the best interests or safety of the child. In these circumstances, a child may be placed outside of the preferred options, for example a non-Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander carer or residential care service, but with ongoing focus on the placement's ability to meet the child's need for connection to family, community, culture and country.

Why this topic is important                                                   

It is desirable that a high proportion of children are placed with family, members of their language group or with other Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander persons, given the evidence of long-term detriment caused to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who are raised without knowledge of, and links to, their cultural background.

This is one factor among many that must be considered in the placement decision, with the child's ongoing safety needs being paramount.

As at 30 June 2019, 55.1 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care were placed with kin, other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers, or an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residential care service. This is a decrease of 1.3 percentage points since 30 June 2018 (56.4 per cent).

The demand for placements for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continues to exceed the supply of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers. As at 30 June 2019 there was 1 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carer family for every 4 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care. By contrast, there was 1 non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carer family for every 1 non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child in care.