Making the NSW Child Protection System More Culturally Appropriate: Investigating the Current Practices of the Child Protection System for Aboriginal Families.
The impact of the history of colonisation and past and present practices, have led to the disparity in social determinants for many Aboriginal people such as education, employment, access to culturally safe services, disconnection from culture and land, inter-generational trauma, poor health choices such as smoking, poor diet and physical inactivity and distrust of government organisations (Young, 2008; Atkinson, 2002). There is also a lack of understanding of the parenting practices of Aboriginal people and the use of Anglocentric assessment tools that do not take into consideration these cultural differences (Yeo, 2003; Commission for Children & Young People, 2016; Lohoar, Butera, & Kennedy, 2014; Malin, 1996; Ryan, 2011). The purpose of this study is to explore the possibility of whether these issues may have led to the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children in OOHC and therefore contribute to Australian research informing this topic. Despite the importance of family functioning accorded in government policy and reporting, there are few measures of either Aboriginal or mainstream family functioning (Walker & Shepherd, 2008). Standard assessment processes are designed to determine a carer’s capacity to care within an Anglo-European cultural framework. They are also designed to screen out those that are likely to abuse children or expose them to adverse situations (Bromfield, Higgins, Richardson, & Higgins, 2007). Given the current system uses an Anglo-European framework, the Researcher hypothesises that if there was an Aboriginal assessment framework, less Aboriginal children may be considered to be at risk.