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Sunrise mea-culpa: Indigenous panel address “under strain” child protection system

Experts Weigh In On Indigenous Children Protection And Health Issues

This morning we held a special edition of Hot Topics, taking a closer look at the issue of child protection, particularly in Indigenous communities.Three panellists who are experts in their field joined us to discuss.

Posted by Sunrise on Monday, March 19, 2018

Sunrise this morning featured an extended Hot Topics discussion following wide criticism of a segment last week which advocated for the removal of at-risk Indigenous children into “white” families.

A 9 minute segment today hosted by David Koch included 3 Indigenous community representatives, CEO Danila Dilba Health Service Olga Havnen, Aboriginal health expert James Ward and NACCHO Chief Executive Patricia Turner.

The discussion clarified where such children are prioritised with relatives and local communities.

“We absolutely believe that the safety and well-being of children is paramount, first and foremost,” said Olga Havnen.

“Secondly, in response to the removal of kids, we don’t actually believe that is the best course of action. The reason for that is, with sufficient support we hope that families might be able to continue to care for their children or alternatively extended family. If that’s not possible then there is absolutely no prohibition or restriction on the ability of non-Aboriginal people to care for children -either as foster carers orin permanent adoption.

“However we don’t see those processes as being the solution. We have a child protection system that is absolutely under strain.”

Discussion also tackled health, funding, government and systemic problems.

“It’s been terrific to talk to all 3 of you, really appreciate it,”  David Koch concluded. “Let’s work together to try and get some of those changes through. It is a real issue affecting Indigenous communities right across the country.”

Olga Havnen added, “You’re absolutely right. What we need is intelligent, informative discussion looking for solutions rather than the confected outrage and anger.”

Last week the show was subjected to protests and headlines with commentator Prue MacSween referencing another stolen generation, in a panel with no inclusive or contrasting perspectives.

However protests at Martin Place are yet to subside for the Seven show, again concealing the backdrop with file vision today. A petition calling for an apology at Change.org currently has over 13,000 signatures.

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