10th March 2021
Announced today by Minister for Child Protection Luke Donnellan, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) will be one of two Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) to pilot the first Aboriginal-led child protection investigations in Australia.
“This announcement is ground breaking. Victoria’s ongoing commitment to self determination and investment in Aboriginal Communities allows us to put the voice of Aboriginal children and families into the decisions and services that affect their lives,” Muriel Bamblett, VACCA CEO said.
VACCA and Bendigo & District Aboriginal Co-Operative (BDAC) will work in conjunction with child protection officers to provide tailored, culturally appropriate responses to investigations. This announcement is a much-needed step forward in the transfer of investment and resources over to Aboriginal community control.
Ms Bamblett added, “the removal of children from their family should always be an absolute last resort. The focus must be on prevention, on keeping families strong and together. An Aboriginal led response to child protection notifications will help to ensure the safety of our children and to make sure they grow up connected to family and culture”.
“We know that when our children and families are supported, they grow up thriving, resilient and surrounded by culture. We know what works and ACCOs are best equipped with the knowledge, skills and expertise to respond to the needs of our families” Ms Bamblett said.
Whilst there is a long way to go to reduce the over-representation, Aboriginal led child protection investigations is a necessary step and VACCA looks forward to continuing to work with the Victorian Government throughout the expansion of Wungurilwil Gapgapduir: Aboriginal Children and Families Agreement, ensuring responses are Aboriginal led, self-determining and embedded in culture.
For all media enquiries please contact Sarah Gafforini, VACCA Director Office of the CEO on 0427 621 421