By Kim Bradford, Aboriginal Consultant, Berry Street Take Two.
Nearly a quarter (23%) of the babies, children and young people referred to Berry Street’s Take Two service are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
Yet Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children make up less than 2% of all Victorian children (Productivity Commission 2020).
This over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage is not just in Victorian child protection services. It’s across Australia and across many areas of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lives. Too many families are suffering the effects of intergenerational trauma. Invasion decimated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and continues to impact our families.
Across Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 11 times as likely to be in out-of-home care compared to non-Indigenous children.
In Victoria, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 20 times as likely to be in out-of-home care compared to non-Indigenous children. (AIHW 2020.)
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day
Every year on 4 August we mark Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day. It’s a day of celebration, a day we highlight the strengths and culture of our children and make sure they know they are worthwhile, special and loved.
But it’s also a day of remembrance. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day started in 1988 – the bicentennial year of British occupation of Australia – as part of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led protests highlighting the forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from families and communities.
Those children were taken and placed in orphanages and institutions. Most of these children were identified by the number on a chain worn around their neck and did not know their own birthdays.They had very little knowledge of their families, communities and countries.
We now call these children the Stolen Generations.
Every year on 4 August we celebrate the birthdays of the stolen children.
This day has grown over more than 30 years since. Many communities, schools and organisations celebrate with cultural events, morning teas, community BBQs and concerts. COVID restrictions will impact some of those celebrations this year, but the sentiment has never been stronger with increased focus on self-determination and the #AboriginalLivesMatter protest movement.
This year the theme is ‘We are the Elders of Tomorrow, Hear our Voice’. This theme highlights the importance of hearing the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people today. It also privileges the knowledge and wisdom of our Elders and Community, and their pivotal role nurturing our future Elders and leaders.
Find out more information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day including ways to get involved and kid-friendly activities at do at home.
You can also read more about some of children and young people Take Two is working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs).
Productivity Commission (2020), Report on Government Services 2020. Commonwealth of Australia. Section 16. www.pc.gov.au/research/ongoing/report-on-government-services/2020/community-services/child-protection/rogs-2020-partf-section16.pdf
AIHW (2020). Child protection Australia 2018–19. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. www.aihw.gov.au/reports/child-protection/child-protection-australia-2018-19/contents/table-of-contents
Berry Street’s Take Two program is a is a Victoria-wide therapeutic service helping to address the impact on children of the trauma they have experienced from abuse, neglect or adverse experiences.
At Take Two we see who the child is, not just the behaviour. All babies, children and young people deserve to feel safe, loved and valued.
We use clinical frameworks, neurobiological research and evidence-informed approaches to repair family relationships and develop networks of caring adults that focus on what the child needs.
Take Two can provide specialist clinical consultancy services to other organisations. Contact us for more information.