From the 20th to the 27th of October, Maria and I had the privilege to participate in Taskforce 1000 when it met in Wodonga and Wangaratta.
The taskforce is a review of all Aboriginal children in OOHC in Victoria, chaired by Andrew Jackomos, Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People.
It was a deeply moving experience hearing the life stories of some 50 children, 15 of whom were under UMFC OOHC.
I was very impressed by the professionalism and compassion demonstrated by our staff who were clearly committed to achieving the best outcomes possible.
Andrew will present his report to the Victorian Parliament when his review is completed, next month. I anticipate amongst his recommendations will be for much more effort put into exploring family networks for kinship placements. One of the parts of the process was for agencies to reflect on how we could support such placements better.
I suggested UMFC could conduct a cultural audit. I have spoken with one of our Board members, Liz Hetta, to assist us in this action. This action was prompted not only by the taskforce experience but also by a comment made at the Ministerial Committee on OOHC on the 23/10. Prof Murial Bamblett was cited as saying, “If we get it right for Aboriginal children we get it right for all children.” That sounds right to me and therefore clear about the work required to make sure we do.