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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Aboriginal Child Crisis

There are now a staggering 4000 Aboriginal children in foster care in New South Wales, compared to 1000 when the Aboriginal Welfare Board was abolished in 1969. Black children are being removed at 10 times the rate of white children.

Amanda Bridge, chairwoman of the Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat, said: "It's more than were taken in the Stolen Generation."

About half the indigenous children in NSW live close by with a grandmother or great-grandmother. These foster parents are known as kinship carers and receive a tax-free allowance which does not affect other commonwealth entitlements. Aboriginal organisations are advertising for more foster carers as the need becomes greater.

The NSW Minister Linda Burney is herself part Aboriginal and was raised in a home without parents. The daughter of a white mother and black father, she wasn't aware of her Aboriginal heritage and didn't meet her father until she was 28. She realizes the need to keep Aboriginal children near their country or the lands of their ancestors and to be placed with their own people.