Aboriginal Children And Young People
I am pleased to rise and inform the house about what the Andrews Labor government is doing to advance self-determination and increase the cultural connectedness of Aboriginal children and young people in our child protection and care system. On 26 April I was pleased to sign and launch the Wungurilwil Gapgapduir: Aboriginal Children and Families Agreement, a groundbreaking tripartite partnership between the Aboriginal communities, government and community service organisations. This agreement was signed by me on behalf of the government, the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, the Victorian Aboriginal Children and Young People’s Alliance and the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare.
The Andrews Labor government has matched this commitment to self-determination with an unprecedented $47.3 million to support implementation of the agreement and the accompanying strategic action plan. This will see continuing assistance for Aboriginal organisations to allow them to support more Aboriginal children and young people on protection orders, to transition the case management of more Aboriginal children in out-of-home care to Aboriginal-controlled community organisations, to improve cultural connection for Aboriginal young people in care and to strengthen evidence-based policy and practice for services involving Aboriginal families and children. The Aboriginal Children’s Forum will oversee implementation of the agreement, with a robust accountability framework to measure its effectiveness in improving the lives of Aboriginal children and their families. This will be a living document, not something that sits on a shelf, gathering dust.
I would like to acknowledge the outstanding work of the Aboriginal Children’s Forum and particularly acknowledge the contribution of the agreement working group. The work and leadership of the forum is grounded through the forging of strong and respectful relationships, an ability to engage in forthright and courageous conversations and an unwavering commitment to improving the outcomes for Aboriginal children and families in Victoria. I am very proud that our government has put this unprecedented funding in this year’s budget to make this vision a reality.