Working for a better future and outcomes for our children
Family Matters February 2018 Update
- 20 February 2018
Family Matters is the National Campaign for eliminating the disproportionate representation of our children in statutory child protection systems in Australia. Since the last newsletter edition, we have continued to drive targeted efforts and strategies aimed at increasing Campaign visibility and engagement; including tangible efforts that support the National Campaign objectives; whilst also supporting the Queensland rollout of the Our Way strategy and Changing Tracks action plan.
Our Way: A generational strategy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families 2017-2037 has been developed in consort with the Queensland Government and with commitment from multiple Departments; and aims to drive and deliver on key system, service, practice and process level reforms, changes and enhancements; to contribute to halting and eliminating the disproportionate representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in statutory child protection systems. Changing Tracks: An action plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families 2017-2019 is the first three-year action plan of the generational strategy, and sets out strategies, reforms and improvements for pursuit; including greater accountability and responsibility across all system levels.
In support of Our Way and Changing Track's rollout, Family Matters Queensland have been maintaining active, regular dialogue with the Queensland Government and in particular the Our Way strategy team within the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (DCCSDS), to provide routine and regular oversight and monitoring of the action plan's rollout and progression of its embedded strategies and action measures. Fortnightly meetings are subsequently now in progress between the Our Way team and Family Matters Queensland, to provide regular, routine opportunity for joint consultation and progress review. Furthermore, Family Matters Queensland is in the process of working with the Our Way team to attend regional workshops being convened across the State regarding the Our Way strategy and Changing Tracks action plan; with an intertwined focus on supporting embedment and effective use and activation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle.
At the jurisdictional level, Queensland Family Matters has also been focused on achieving increased engagement and mobilisation of active efforts at service and practice levels, through our Queensland Family Matters Leadership Group. The Leadership Group comprises local, regional and state-based organisations involved in the planning and direct provision of services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. The aim of the Leadership Group is to help drive and deliver on state-based strategies, actions and approaches that promote and support the vision, targets, principles and building blocks of the Family Matters Campaign; whilst also committing to and applying tangible responses that promote the Our Way strategy; and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle. Leadership Group meetings are now to be convened on a monthly basis, with the latest meeting held 30 January 2018. 2018 priorities for the Queensland Leadership Group have been guided by collective input and dialogue from a range of signatories to the Campaign, as well as informed by findings from the latest 2017 Family Matters Report.
Queensland Family Matters attended the launch of the report at Parliament House in late November 2017, at which time political engagement with the campaign was also a key focus.
An upcoming focus for Family Matters Queensland is also this year's National Week of Action, to be held 14 - 20 May 2018. The purpose of the Family Matters National Week of Action is to profile the campaign and its priorities, as well as to advocate the needs, experiences and priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families; and the importance of retaining connection to culture, community and country. QATSICPP and Family Matters Queensland are pleased to announce that we will be administering a micro-grant round for local community events and promotions to be held at the time of the National Week of Action, with 10 grants available to the value of $500, and 5 grants available to the value of $1,000. Applications are invited from local organisations and communities to run an event or promotion in your community. An application form will be circulated throughout our member networks and Family Matters signatories and any questions can be directed to our Family Matters Queensland Co-ordinator, Jess Mcardle (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A special acknowledgement also goes to those who were involved in the recent screening of Cherbourg Women - My Struggle My Fight, held Friday 19th January 2018 at Bunyupa Park in West End. In early November Yamaji filmmaker Janine Kelly travelled to Cherbourg Community with her Aunty Rhonda Collard-Spratt to document the up close and personal stories of the Cherbourg Women who are suffering the removal of their Children and Grandchildren. Through the heartache and pain these brave women tell their stories:
"Our aim is to fight to keep our children safe and to stop them from being forcibly removed by DOCS, taking them off country and placing them with non Indigenous carer's and families where the children in turn lose their culture and identity and the essence of their footprints their land and country. We Need to stand together United and fight this ongoing battle"
We encourage any organisations who are not yet signatories to Family Matters Queensland to take the Statement of Commitment to the Campaign, or pledge your support as an individual via our national website: www.familymatters.org.au.