The over-representation of indigenous children in the Australian child welfare system

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Title The over-representation of indigenous children in the Australian child welfare system
Author Tilbury, Clare
Journal Name International Journal of Social Welfare
Year Published 2009
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Abstract Similar to other wealthy countries with colonised indigenous populations, Australia's indigenous children, those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, are seriously over-represented in the child welfare system. The specific dimensions of this problem warrant detailed examination. It is useful to consider factors such as rates of entry to care, length of stay and the nature of services in order to understand the problem more fully. This article uses child protection, out-of-home care, and juvenile justice administrative data to examine levels of disproportionality at key decision points in the child welfare system. The data show that child welfare interventions are persistently more intrusive for indigenous children, and that levels of disproportionality have not improved over time. More comprehensive child and family welfare policies are needed to address indigenous disadvantage. Despite calls by indigenous community agencies for more input to decision-making, their participation in the Australian child welfare system remains marginal.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
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Copyright Statement Copyright 2009 Blackwell Publishing. This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.The definitive version is available at
Volume 18
Page from 57
Page to 64
ISSN 1369-6866
Date Accessioned 2009-08-19
Language en_AU
Research Centre Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance
Faculty Griffith Health Faculty
Subject Social Program Evaluation; Social Work
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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