National Aboriginal and Islander Children's Day
SNAICC would appreciate your assistance in promoting National Aboriginal and Islander Children's Day, NAICD, which is this Saturday August 4th.
Please find attached and included in the text of this email below a media release and some background info on NAICD and SNAICC.
If you could;
- Forward this email on to your networks of Indigenous organisations and others with an interest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children
- Issue your own press statement in relation to NAICD in support of Aboriginal and Islander Children, and
- Send SNAICC copies of any media releases you put out
With thanks in advance
Media Release (Embargoed until midnight Wednesday August 1st)
Nine steps to a better future for Indigenous children- Challenging political leaders to act!
Muriel Cadd, SNAICC Chairperson said today in the lead up to National Aboriginal and Islander Children's Day, (NAICD) Saturday August 4th, that, " All the major political parties should outline specific commitments to
Indigenous children as part of their election policies. She said, "SNAICC as the national peak body representing Indigenous children's interests had identified the following major issues for attention from Government:
1. Making a formal apology to the Stolen Generations through the Federal Parliament
2. Reducing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being removed from home for child welfare and poverty related reasons - currently six times the rate for all other children.
3. Providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families with access to family support services to prevent family breakdown and reduce the number of Indigenous children removed from their families by State Welfare authorities
4. Making a national commitment to early childhood development by expanding the number of Multifunctional Aboriginal Children's Services, MACS, and other early childhood services to ensure all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have access to quality child care and preschool education - currently less than half of Australia's Indigenous children access pre school education.
5. Establishing national benchmarks for government services to ensure planning takes account of the high proportion of Indigenous people under the age of 30 - 70%
6. Implementing recommendations from Bringing Them Home including those in relation to National Legislation, to cover:
- Reform of the current State based systems of child protection;
- Abolishing mandatory sentencing in the NT and WA,
- Implementing National Plan for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect commissioned by the Federal Government in 1996 but not funded
- Establishing a National Indigenous Youth Strategy as recommended by The Royal Commission Into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody with a key focus on community involvement for young people with no opportunity to work or study
- Reversing the 1996 budget cuts to ATSIC to enable ATSIC to reinstate its Community and Youth Support Program
NAICD is an annual event celebrated every year on August 4th having been established by the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care - SNAICC in 1988. NAICD serves as a day of recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
Ms Cadd said," The aim of NAICD is to show our kids how important they are to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and society. Through focussing on a different theme each year NAICD also aims to draw attention to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their situation in this country."
She added," The theme for 2001 - We are watching and learning from you -make us proud of all you do challenges us all to think about our behaviour and its impact on children. Children learn from observing behaviour including that of their families and friends, community members but also political leaders and governments. Too often children witness behaviour which carries messages of violence, neglect and indifference instead of love, respect, reconciliation, support and encouragement."
She said," SNAICC, challenges all political parties, Indigenous leaders, organisations and individuals to think about the example they set for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Children who can take pride in the people around them will grow up to respect their elders, value their cultural heritage and strengthen their communities."
Ms Cadd added, " Our children will continue to face an uncertain and difficult future if our political leaders fail to respond to the issues SNAICC has put before them. SNAICC had already outlined these issues to both Government and Opposition and was now demanding that they outline their responses well in advance of the Federal Election."
For this year, NAICD SNAICC with the support of ATSIC has distributed posters to over 700 Indigenous community organisations.
On Saturday August 4th, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia will hold local celebrations and events for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
- End Release-
More information on NAICD
Julian Pocock SNAICC Coordinator (w) 039 482 9380 fax: 039 482 9157
Muriel Cadd SNACC Chairperson (w) 039 471 1855 (m) 0407 802026
Background information for National Aboriginal and Islander Children's Day 2001
SNAICC - Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care, SNAICC, is the recognised national non-government peak body in Australia, which represents the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
SNAICC was formally established in 1981 after the establishment of such a body was proposed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at a conference, " The First Aboriginal Child Survival Seminar" held in Melbourne in 1979.
The development of the first Aboriginal Child Care Agencies, SNAICC's founding members, was initiated following as trip to the United States by the late (Auntie) Mollie Dyer from the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service. Inspired by the success of Native Americans in reducing the rate of child removal, and in particular the Yakima Indian Nation, Mollie returned to Australia to establish the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency, VACCA. VACCA soon became a model and source of inspiration for the establishment of similar agencies in other States and Territories. SNAICC now operates from a membership base of Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander community based child care agencies, Multi-functional Aboriginal Children's Services, family support services, foster care agencies, link up and family reunification services, family group homes, community groups and voluntary associations, long day care child care services, pre schools, early childhood education services and services for young people at risk.
SNAICC is governed by a national executive of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people drawn from our members and operates from an office located in Melbourne with two part time staff.
Some recent and typical activities Key milestones in SNAICC's commitment to serving the interests of
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families have included:
In 1979 the 'First Aboriginal Child Survival Conference - If Everyone Cared' convened by Mrs Mollie Dyer from the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency;
Production of "Through Black Eyes - Family Violence Resource Handbook" in 1991 and 1992;
Bringing to national attention the story of the Stolen Generations' when in 1991 SNAICC was the first national Indigenous organisation to call for a national inquiry into the Stolen Generations'
Assisting SNAICC's members and other community organisations to participate in and make submissions to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, HREOC, Inquiry into the forcible separation of
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families
Development of National Aboriginal and Islander Children's Day - NAICD, (August 4th each year), from 1988 as a major annual event celebrated by communities throughout Australia.
Presentation of a major paper to the First National Child Sexual Abuse Conference, Melbourne 1994; ' Sexual Abuse and Aboriginal Children: An Exploration'
Research and production of the 'Proposed Plan of Action for Child Abuse and Neglect in Aboriginal Communities' 1996
Convening the second National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Survival conference in 1997.
Membership of the Australian Council for Children and Parenting
Membership of the Federal Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Family Violence Taskforce in 2000
National Aboriginal and Islander Children's Day - August 4th
National Aboriginal and Islander Children's Day, (NAICD), is an annual event always celebrated on August 4th having been established by SNAICC in 1988. Through focussing on a different theme each year NAICD also aims to draw attention to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
With support from ATSIC SNAICC produces posters typically featuring original artwork to represent the theme. Posters are distributed free by SNAICC to over 700 organisations throughout the country. At the local level community based children's services throughout the country such as the AICCA's and MACS organise local celebrations and free activities with a focus on children and families.
Previous Years Themes
Since 1988 NAICD has focussed on themes ranging from child poverty, the forced removal of children from families, access to education, strengthening families, cultural pride and providing a better future for children.
In 1991 the theme focussed on the issue of the Stolen Generations and demanded a national inquiry into the forced removal of Indigenous children from their families. SNAICC was the first national organisation to call for
such an inquiry and campaigned tirelessly until the Federal government announced in 1995 that an inquiry would be held.
Ten years after SNAICC first called for the inquiry on NAICD 1991 the issue of the Stolen Generations has gone from being known by very few Australians to being known by literally all Australians.
Background socio economic data
22% of the whole population is under 15 years of age, 40% of the Indigenous population is under 15. 7% of the whole population is under 5 years of age, 15% of the Indigenous population is under 5 years. 68 % of the total Indigenous population are under the age of 30
Child and Family Welfare
According to the AIHW 1997/8 report on child protection, Indigenous children are still seven times more likely to be removed from their families than other children are. The key causal factors AIHW note in the report include:
- Higher rates of poverty
- Intergenerational effects of previous separations from family and culture
- Cultural differences in child rearing practices, and
- A lack of access for families to support services
Child placement in foster care
Despite the acceptance of the Indigenous Child Placement Principle approx 25% of Indigenous children removed from their families are still placed with non-Aboriginal foster parents.
Life expectancy at birth
Life expectancy at birth among non-Indigenous people was 74.9 years for males and 80.6 years for females, life expectancy at birth was 15 to 20 years lower for Indigenous people
Between 1995 and 1999 access to pre school education for Indigenous children declined - for all other children it increased. This was due to the increasing Indigenous population; age structure of the Indigenous population and a failure to provided enough new pre school places.
Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were more likely to leave school early - one third had left school by age 15 or younger, compared to 15% for all young people.
Unemployment persists at much higher rates amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than the whole Australian community. The unemployment rate is highest for Indigenous people 15 to 19 year olds, 50% and very high for 20 to 24 year olds, 46%.
Nature of employment
26% of Indigenous people in employment were employed in the Community Development Employment Project, CDEP scheme, which is a work for the dole scheme provided through ATSIC.
Participation in the CDEP scheme grew rapidly from about 4,000 in 1991 and 25,000 1995. Increases in the employment of Indigenous people between 1991 and 1994 were largely the result of this growth in CDEP.
Annual Household income
20% of Indigenous households had an annual household income of less than $16,000 per annum. A further 40% had household incomes of between $16,001 and $40,000.
Despite their small proportion of the total population Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up 14% of all the clients under the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program and Indigenous families are 20 times more likely to be homeless than non Indigenous families.