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Child protection interventions have been implemented which are aimed at providing children with safe secure and caring environments. These environments are meant to allow for optimum growth and development, which is implemented through the Departments of Child Safety and Departments of Communities. These departments work through a statutory system that is designed to protect the best interests of a child and treat them as paramount. Over-representation of indigenous or aboriginal Australian children in the welfare system is a cause for concern in this sector. Most of the interventions towards child protection in Australia are directed towards Aboriginal children because of the historical injustices that have been witnessed against their plight and welfare. There have been progressive policies meant to address the welfare of children in Australia. Historical practices and events, which took place at the time of first contact and onwards, have presented a crucial link to issues such as over-representation of indigenous people affecting aboriginals in this country today. This paper seeks to address the historical and more recent ideologies, welfare practices and government policies that have the current situation of over-representation of indigenous people. Previous government legislation and practices that have been operational in Australia have contributed immensely to the sensitive issues affecting aboriginal people today. Apart from the assimilation policy, oppressive legislation is part of the historical injustices perpetrated against the indigenous people thus leading to the current situation of overrepresentation of the Aboriginal people. ...
Most of the interventions by the Australian states and territories towards the Aboriginal populations were in form of punitive and restrictive legislation and policies (Dudgeon Pat et al. 2011 p4). For instance, such acts include “Aborigines Protection Act of 1909 in New South Wales, Australia, the Queensland Aboriginals Protection, and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act of 1897, and the Welfare Ordinance of 1901. These acts of legislation were intended to mutilate the culture of the Aboriginals through loss of the language, family dispersion, and cessation of cultural practices. The Western Australian Act of 1905 is perhaps the most notorious piece of legislation because of its gross erosion of rights of the Aboriginal persons; for instance, the Western Australian Act resulted to forceful removal of children from their families, natural environments, and the establishment of reserves for Aboriginal persons. Assimilation policies are construed to represent factors that have resulted in intergenerational impacts such as abuse, suffering and neglect of children in Australia. Until 1969, children were forcefully removed from their families and communities as the official Australian policy, which resulted to a lost generation in Australia. White settlement policy on the indigenous population of Australia led to devastating perceptions of loss and grief, impacts that are still being experienced up to date (Aihw, 2013 p2). For instance, grief and loss issues oftentimes result in suicidal feelings among the youth, drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness, overrepresentation in welfare and juvenile criminal justice systems, among other things. The assimilation policies were meant to displace, protect,
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Though the number of cases is more prevalent in third world countries, the issue is still an area of concern in the developed countries. This issue has an impact on the approach and life of many individuals. It is not only restricted to the family members but also extends to the teachers of the child and other people he or she comes into contact with.
In Australia alone, over 31000 cases of alleged child abuse and neglect were reported in Queensland between 2002 and 2003 (CMC, 2004); although aboriginal children and young people comprise only about 4% of the population in New South Wales, they add up to over 29% of children and young people in Out-of-Home-Care (Berlyn, Bromfield and Lamont, 2011).
These issues include ways of ensuring that individual infants are protected in the family and society at large and lessening further harm to infants who have been subjected to abuse and neglect by responding to their needs in an efficient manner. The article further addresses issues to do with creation of a society that aims at reducing the risks that may put infants and children in a position of being neglected or abuse and ways of dealing with the limitations and drawbacks to such activities.
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When looking at the above situation it is necessary to view the options available to the various authorities and then to decide what the courts would view as being in the best interest of the children.
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