Black Children : White Welfare? Aboriginal Child Welfare Law and Policy in New South Wales

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Abstract
This is a study of Aboriginal child welfare. The main focus is on New South Wales, but the issues confront people in all parts of Australia. Is there such a thing as Aboriginal child welfare? Should there be? The initial response of many people might be that laws and policies should not in any way distinguish between Aboriginal and other children. Laws and policies which make any such distinction between children of different races seem contrary to current notions of equality. Should we not be striving towards a child welfare system in which it makes no difference whether a child is black or white? The purpose of this study is to show that whether this is the right goal for child welfare is a remarkably complex question. Many Aboriginal people believe that it is not. They yearn for a future in which they, as Aboriginal people, have control over their destiny and the right to pass on to their children what it is to be Aboriginal. Many have bitter memories of attempts by white people to “assimilate” them, and of the use of child welfare laws to take their children away; away from their homes and communities, and often more than that away from their identity as Aboriginal people. For them, laws and policies based on simple notions of equality and non-discrimination mean a society in which the original invasion and theft of their land become legitimated through the gradual disappearance of any identifiable Aboriginal identity. Aboriginal concerns about their children and the child welfare system, as much as about land rights, touch on wider claims to justice. This study, then, attempts to consider Aboriginal child welfare in the light of these wider issues.
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Chisholm, Richard
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Publication Year
1985
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Working Paper
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download Reports and Proceedings No 52.pdf 5.79 MB Adobe Portable Document Format
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