SORRY MEANS NEVER AGAIN!
26th May, 2017
Mparntwe (Alice Springs)
On May 29 the Royal Commission will begin hearings in Alice Springs to examine failings in the child protection system. Local advocacy group Shut Youth Prisons and concerned families will be gathering outside the commission hearings at 1pm to say “Sorry means never again!”
Christine Palmer, Grandmother and Arrernte Kaytetye woman, says “Empowerment must be given back to the parents and grandparents to teach and nurture their child/children back to a healthy living back on country with genuine honest workers and support to make this happen for the betterment of the whole family.”
“We as an Aboriginal people and families already have a good strong kinship system that is culturally appropriate with a traditional lifestyle that works and had worked for decades but is ignored by non-Aboriginal workers.”
20 years after the Bringing Them Home report was tabled, the rates of Aboriginal children being removed from their families today is increasing. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, rates have increased by 400% in the last 15 years.
Indigenous children make up about 4% of the population but represent a third of the out-of-home care population. Aboriginal children are more than nine times more likely than non-indigenous kids to be placed in out-of-home care.
As former Don Dale guards testified during the last round of Royal Commission hearings, children in state care are incarcerated at alarming rates. Evidence made clear that the Department of Community and Families was using Don Dale as a “holding cell” for the children in their care. In doing so, Department of Community and Families systematically exposed young people to abuse.
Beginning on Monday May 29, Shut Youth Prisons and concerned families will stand up to make sure these stories are not forgotten, and are not left to rot on a shelf. We need real solutions for our young people.
Shut Youth Prisons calls for real investments in our youth’s future, funding reinstated for youth programs, strong and culturally appropriate support for families, and support for kinship care that doesn’t break a child’s connection to identity.
SORRY MEANS NEVER AGAIN