This Foster Care Week we join in the call for carers to be supported with the basics such as birth certificates and Medicare cards, to be unburdened by the financial pressure to pay for health and education expenses that aren’t covered by the care allowance.
Close the Gap Day
Today is Close the Gap Day. To think, in Australia, the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is widening rather than closing is almost hard to believe.
Following on from the release of the Closing the Gap report on 12 February, which revealed the same familiar disappointing story as previous years, the Close the Gap Campaign warned “the ongoing gap in life expectancy, health outcomes and child mortality rates for Indigenous Australians is absolutely intolerable.”
Sadly, the report confirms only two of the original seven Closing the Gap targets are on track to be met within their timeframes – the same two targets as last year.
Close the Gap Campaign Co-Chairs are now calling on the government to invest urgently in health equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
And there is a very real need to bridge the education gap for Indigenous Australians, employment opportunities and outcomes for First Nation children and young people in out of home care.
Every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child and young person deserves to grow up with at least the same opportunities in life as every other Australian.
Sadly, the gap continues to widen for Aboriginal children, who are 11 times more likely to be removed from their families than non-Indigenous children. Our First Nation Peoples must be included in decision making and actions to close the gap, far too often, their experiences, their concerns, and their voices are missing from the picture.
Close the Gap Day does provide an opportunity to bring to the forefront the inequities experienced by many of Australia’s First People and not only call for Indigenous equality by 2030 but for a genuine partnership between governments and Aboriginal communities and organisations that invests in real and meaningful solutions for Aboriginal children, young people and their families.
In Victoria, the growth in OOHC is the fastest in the nation – a grim reality for the state which has endured the harshest and longest lockdowns. With more than 45,000 children already in OOHC across Australia, an additional 4,500 children are estimated to enter OOHC because of the pandemic – put simply, we do not have enough carers.
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