What is the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle?
The Aboriginal Child Placement Principle (ACPP) governs the practice of child protection services in Victoria. It is endorsed by the SNAICC (Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care) and is incorporated into the Victorian government’s Children, Youth and Families’ Act 2005. The ACPP aims to strengthen Aboriginal children’s connections with their family, community and cultural identity particularly in response to previous detrimental policies. All Aboriginal children who become involved with child protection services which results in their removal from their families are governed by the ACPP to ensure that their identity as an Aboriginal is preserved. The purpose of the ACPP is to enhance and preserve Aboriginal children’s sense of identity as an Aboriginal by ensuring that Aboriginal children and young people are maintained within their own biological family, extended family, local Aboriginal community, wider Aboriginal community and maintaining their connections to their Aboriginal culture.
The Aboriginal Child Placement Principle promotes a hierarchy of placement options as outlined below:
Removal of any Aboriginal child must be a last resort
If, after consultation with a community controlled Aboriginal welfare organisation, removal of a child from its family is unavoidable then the authorities must have regard to the direction of the Aboriginal welfare organisation
If such a removal is necessary, then the child must be placed within the extended family, or if this is not possible, the child may be placed within the Aboriginal community within close proximity to the child’s natural family
If there is not an Aboriginal placement available, then in consultation with Aboriginal and Islander Child Care Agencies (AICCAs), the child may be placed with a non-Aboriginal family on the assurance that the child’s culture, identity and contact with the Aboriginal community are maintained.
What are the objectives of the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle?
The objectives of the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle are to ensure that recognition is given to an Aboriginal child’s right to be raised in his/her own culture and to the importance and value of family, extended family, kinship networks, culture and community in raising – ‘growing up’ Aboriginal children.