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  3. 10. General
  4. 10.1 Decision-making about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
  5. Key steps
  6. 1. Enable meaningful participation in decision-making

1. Enable meaningful participation in decision-making

Due to the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children subject to Child Safety intervention, and the enduring impact of past government policy on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and families, Child Safety is responsible for and committed to making all decisions about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in active collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and their community.

The Child Protection Act 1999, sections 5C and 6AA, reflect the importance of providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with the opportunity to meaningfully participate in child protection decision-making to ensure that:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can exercise their right to self-determination and agency over their lives
  • child protection services provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are culturally appropriate and support their safe care and connection with family, community, culture and country
  • active efforts are made to address the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the child protection system.

The Child Protection Act 1999 requires that, when making a decision about an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, Child Safety considers the long-term effect of the decision on the child’s identity and connection with their family and community. The decision must also be made:

  • in a way that allows the full participation of the child and the child’s family group
  • in a place that is appropriate to Aboriginal tradition or Island custom
  • in a way that upholds the following five elements of the Child Placement Principle:
    • prevention - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have a right to be brought up within their own family and community
    • partnership - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons have the right to participate in significant decisions about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
    • placement - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children subject to a child protection care agreement or child protection order, granting custody or guardianship to the chief executive, have a right to be placed with a member of their family group
    • participation - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their parents and family members have a right to participate, and be enabled to participate, in administrative and judicial decision making processes
    • connection - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have a right to be supported to develop and maintain a connection with the child’s family, community, culture, traditions and language, particularly where a child is in the care of a person who is not an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person.