Aboriginal children comprise 56 per cent of children in care in WA, despite accounting for only 6 per cent of the population.

In the Kimberley, they account for 100 per cent of all children in care.  

These shocking statistics are pointing to another Stolen Generation.

A failure to provide legal representation to parents and children in the Family Court and related care and protection system is making this situation worse.

This week, the Family Inclusion Network of Western Australia (Fin WA Inc.) held a symposium where representatives from across the judiciary, legal sector, government and support services came together to discuss the crisis in the care and protection of children in WA.

The numbers of children going into care in WA is increasing.  As noted by SNAICC - National Voice
for our Children in their Family Matters Report 2020:

“The impacts of reduced household income and access to safe and healthy housing affects the capacity of families to provide safe and supportive care for children. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families are 10 times more likely to live in social housing than non-Indigenous families, and nearly one in three (31.4%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are living below the poverty line. “[1]

When the Department of Communities decides to act, they are legally represented to advocate their case.  Parents, often already in disadvantaged or vulnerable circumstances, are routinely provided with NO legal assistance to put their case.

This is a denial of justice.  It also makes no economic sense for the government.

A lack of legal representation for parents costs the Government money.  People who are not aware of their rights and responsibilities can cause delays in the Court system, often requiring multiple court appearances. We have evidence that demonstrates that where parents and children receive early legal assistance there are usually better outcomes for families and reduced court time.

Funding for legal assistance as part of the State Recovery Plan is vital and the state government’s not listening.

It is time to listen.

3 December 2020

Further information

Protection and Care Brief.  Community Legal WA, January 2020.

Therapeutic Approach (Pilot Court) for Protection & Care in the Children’s Court of WA Submission. Community Legal WA, March 2020.

[1] Family Matters Report 2020 reveals Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continue to be separated from families and culture at an alarming rate - SNAICC