Megan Giles is the Executive Director, Policy and Legislation with the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women in the Queensland Government. This is a position that has responsibility for strategic policy and legislative reform across the Department’s portfolio of responsibilities including child protection, domestic and family violence prevention, and youth justice. Megan is a lawyer and practiced in the areas of criminal law, family law and child protection, primarily representing children before joining the public service in strategic policy roles twelve years ago. Megan is committed to respectfully deepening her understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures and recognizing the issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle – NOT JUST ABOUT PLACEMENT (Policy Think Space)
The disproportionate representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care continues to be a pervasive feature of statutory child protection systems across Australia. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission Bringing Them Home Report (HREOC, 1997) highlighted the significant intergenerational impact of Australia’s history, which included the deliberate, systematic removal of Aboriginal children from their families, community and culture. In keeping with the recommendations of the report, consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Article 8, 2 (a)) and to prevent the recurrence of adverse historical practices, the Queensland Government adopted and implemented the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle in 2010.
However, since the commencement of operation of the Queensland Child Placement Principle policy in 2010, the rate of over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Queensland’s child protection system has continued to escalate. Currently, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children now represent more than 42% of the children and young people in out of home care (DCCSDS, 2017), despite representing less than 5% of Queensland’s youth population.
This session will detail the process undertaken by the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak and SNAICC – National Voice for Our Children in partnership with the executive leadership of the Queensland Department of Child Safety Youth and Women, through influencing both the national policy agenda and the Queensland child protection reform process, to;
RECLAIM the original intent of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle,
RECONCEPTUALISE the principle in a contemporary child protection context and,
RELAUNCH the principle as the point of truth in child protection legislation, policy, programs, processes and practices to drive optimal, rights affirming outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Queensland.