Charity’s bid to curb over-representation of Aboriginal children in State care

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian
Mission Australia Midwest and Gascoyne Area Manager Dr Paul Royce and Department of Communities district director Belinda Wainwright.
Camera IconMission Australia Midwest and Gascoyne Area Manager Dr Paul Royce and Department of Communities district director Belinda Wainwright. Credit: Tamra Carr, The Geraldton Guardian.

Mission Australia staff will start attending unsafe homes in a bid to curb over-representation of Aboriginal children in State care.

The Department of Communities will refer families at risk of having children removed to Mission Australia.

Staff will then try to address problems such as drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, overcrowding in the home, or children not attending school.

Staff will also work with families who have already had children taken away to try to re-set homes to good conditions and reunite broken families.

Department of Communities district director Belinda Wainwright said Mission Australia would work as a complementary service to its Child Protection and Family Support service.

“The Government will still deal with the accountability of perpetrators,” she said.

“This is to fill a gap in intensive family support we identified throughout the State.”

The charity has been given the tender to provide family help in the Murchison region, which takes in Geraldton, Carnarvon and Meekatharra.

VideoJohn Pilger's damning documentary lifts the veil on Australia's treatment of Aboriginal citizens, branding the living conditions faced by indigenous Australians as the country's dirtiest little secret.

An initial team of four will work with families at risk of hitting crisis or who have already been subject to State intervention.

Mission Australia Mid West and Gascoyne area manager Dr Paul Royce said cultural considerations had been highlighted.

“We’ll be working with indigenous organisations and with extended families such as the aunties,” he said.

“We’ll also be taking a collaborative approach and referring to other services when necessary, such as when mental health problems have been identified.

“We just want to increase the safety of families and households.”

Mission Australia will be able to provide help from September 1.

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