James Williams a senior Wiradjuri Elder, currently working for the Department of Communities and Justice - Cultural Connections team spoke with CAAMA’s Josef Jakamarra Egger of the significance his role plays in reconnecting children in care with their families and culture.
Mr. Williams suggests that the number of children being put into care has increased, refuting the latest statistics released from the NSW govt, indicating that there have been fewer Aboriginal children being put into care over the past three years. Mr. Williams estimates that there are around 17000 Aboriginal children in care, suggesting that the influx of non-govt funded organizations and services providers who are managing Aboriginal children in care, doesn’t reflect the true numbers.
Mr. Williams believes a significant factor in the removal of children into care, comes down to poverty. “Once the Aboriginal protection act came in…. the cleanliness of the child was judged, and in a lot of the cases children were removed because of that reason…That was poverty, neglect is something else all together…”
" We need to engage the kids in activities, that's not looking at a screen, we've got to get them out on Country" – James Williams, Wiradjuri Elder