• Internal Code :
  • Subject Code : SWB221
  • University : Queensland University of Technology
  • Subject Name : Humanities

Social Issue: Indigenous Children (populations) and Child Protection (social Issue)


Indigenous people are those who are known for their tradition and culture. They are also known as first nation, native peoples, aboriginal peoples, and first peoples or autochthonous in some regions. They are the earliest known inhabitants and are also recognized as ethnic groups. They are associated with the history of specific territories and are found in every inhabited continent and climate zone of the world. Indigenous peoples are the group affected by colonization. Indigenous children of Australia are also known as a stolen generation as they were removed from their families by the Australian Federals and state government agencies under the act of their respective parliaments. There are around 17787 children in out of home care in which 59.4 per cent are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. This is approx. 11 times more than non-indigenous children (Ostrowski et al. 2017). The report aims to analyze the social problem (child protection) related to indigenous children in Australia. The report will identify and discuss different plans and actions to overcome the social issues faced by indigenous children in Australia.

Initial Assessment

Indigenous children in Australia were forcedly removed from their family as a result of various government policies and regulations. The policies were carried out so that indigenous people die out through a natural process or should be assimilated into the white community. The indigenous children were forcedly taught to adopt white culture in order to reject their indigenous heritage. To do this their name were changed and most of the indigenous children were sent to institutes to learn the white culture. They faced huge criticism and abuse in institutions in which they were placed. Moreover, they were not allowed to speak their own traditional language. The main problems observed are abuse, criticism and racism against indigenous children from non-indigenous peoples. Indigenous children are not treated as same as other children’s (McLeod, Adunuri and Booth 2019).

The problem arises due to the policy of Assimilation. The government wants to dig out the traditional heritage of indigenous peoples. They want to form a country where only the white community lives. The policy includes children removal policies in which children were adopted by white families to ensure white culture and removal of traditional indigenous culture. The children who are adopted by American family had experienced psychological, physical and sexual abuse from adoptive families and state cares. The indigenous children were made ashamed of their culture in order to reject their culture. Moreover, adoptive family also tried to manipulate them by giving wrong information about their family by saying that their parents had died or they have left them. In addition, Indigenous children were harshly punished in the institution in which they were placed. They were offered less food and minimum facilities available in the institute (Azpitarte et al. 2019).

In addition, children get low education as they were expected to work as domestic servants and manual labour. The racisms and criticism delivered by non-indigenous people had resulted in high depression, stress, anxiety and suicide among indigenous children. The removals of indigenous children policies also affected their families. Most of the parents turned alcoholic and druggist due to the loss of their child and many of them never recovered from the pain. These changes made by the government had made indigenous people to the loss of their traditional culture and recognition. Most of the indigenous children even don't know about their real parents and culture origin. However, in 1997, the government had concluded that these policies had breached fundamental human rights (Dossetor et al. 2017). However the criticism has not come to an end from non-indigenous peoples. Indigenous children are suffering a lot despite favorable government policies and rules. The government need to take action related to the education, employment, healthcare and protection of indigenous children.

Critical Social Work Theoretical Perspectives

It is important to aware people about the conditions and situations of indigenous children as they are facing issues from the society. It is not their fault that they are born in Aboriginal families. The principles that I will use for child protection in my practice are human rights and anti-oppressive theory. Human rights will enable the indigenous children’s as well as indigenous peoples to use their rights of right to education, right to employment, access to adequate health services and many more. It will help in generating confidence in children to fight for their rights and earn respect in the society as they deserve(Hernández et al. 2017). It will boost up their growth and learning capabilities to incorporate into society. Moreover, they can set a new benchmark for indigenous people too. The human right approach will include awareness about human rights, empowering people to claim and know their rights and increasing the ability and

accountability of individuals and institutions that are responsible for respecting, protecting and fulfilling rights. According to Nippersess 2016, social workers are grateful to the international human rights and codes of ethics as they provide an individual their rights despite of their culture, color, community and race. However, it is important to understand that the human rights exist and they are same for all and cannot be changed. The approach of critical human rights is towards committing better fairness and social justice, especially for those people who are marginalized and demoralized in the society. It is required to aware peoples about their rights in order to reduces criticism and harassment made towards them from the society. Therefore, in the developing world it is required to form new human right approaches as well as strengthening them to provide people better facilities particularly to those communities which are restricted to access such facilities and resources (Nippersess 2016).

Moreover, anti-oppressive theory enables social workers to search and identify issues that create an imbalance between different communities in order to reduce or remove the difficulties that restrict individual’s ability to have their lives within their power and control. Moreover, the theory defenses people from being differentiated by sexual orientation, and ethnicity, physical, race, gender and mental states. Many authors have different opinions about anti-oppressive theory but according to Egan 2016, the anti-oppressive practice provides the basis for the Combined Framework. The integrated framework provide knowledge about the certainty of constraints that the structure of the approach have and recognize it as this services affected by social system and structure(Egan et al. 2016).

Engagement and Working Alliance

The process of engagement and creating a working alliance of indigenous children for the purpose of child protection, with my campaigns will require enormous things. I have to start from the bottom by searching the number for indigenous children’s who are facing inequality and criticism from the non-indigenous peoples. For making them aware, I will reach out to different communities by making and putting fly over in densely populated areas, posting information of my campaigns on social media and by creating pages on Instagram and Facebook. Moreover, publishing advertisement in newspapers and television will help me to reach indigenous children .After reaching to them I will inform about the positive aspects that can help them to retain their position in the community as they deserve. I belong to non-indigenous people

and I know how they had suffered from the time of colonization. I want to help them by making people aware about the conditions of such children’s and how they are living in the society and how their lives are affected by depression and criticism delivered by the society towards them which leads to a number of deaths and suicide among indigenous children’s (Bodkin-Andrews et al. 2017).Creating a strong relationship between a social worker and indigenous children will reduce the hesitation among the children to communicate their personal experience faced from society. It is important to empower them and communicate their rights to ensure child protection and equality in society. For a successful engagement and working alliance, the social worker needs to understand the feeling of the indigenous peoples. It is important to know about social drawbacks and organizational differences indigenous children faced and policies that enable the government to do so. Organizing plays and cultural activities that focus on indigenous child protection will present the ‘human face’ of the social problems for these groups. Involving in fun activities and creating a welcoming environment for indigenous children will create a place where they will feel comfortable, confident, safe and accepted. This welcoming environment will enable them to access better healthcare services and rights that they should use for living quality life. Treating Indigenous children same then non-indigenous people will realize that they are not separate from them and belong to the same society where rules are equal for all (DeSorcy, Olver, and Wormith 2016).

Intervention/action Plans

Many action plans are available for enhancing the conditions of indigenous children’s. Various communities and groups are working form improving indigenous people’s lives. Various policies that were created in past that influenced such people's lives are now being considered as a framework the breached fundamental rights of people. I have come through communities that are coming forward to help such groups and children’s. One of the organizations from which I was impressed was NACCHO. However, most of the indigenous children’s and people suffer from dangerous diseases, NACCHO initiated a program to provide high-quality health services and employment toAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in their organization.NACCHO (National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organization) is the national leadership body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in Australia. This organization operates in over 300 clinics across Australia for delivering primary health care services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The organization consist of 144 ACCHOs (Aboriginal

Community Controlled Health Organization) which is considered as the largest sector that involves Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as an employee (6000) in Australia (McDowall 2016). Moreover, the organization also provides guidance to the Australian government on budget and policies related to the health services of such communities (Wall 2018). The organization has signed a joint partnership with the Australian government on closing the gap between the communities and they have also provided national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medicines policy leadership. Working with such organization had helped me to deeply understand the problems and issues that hinder an individual to fights against such concerns. It can be seen that there is an amount of unfairness amongst indigenous children’s. Indigenous children are not treated as same asthat of non-indigenous children’s and the same goes for indigenous peoples (McDowall 2016).

Critical Reflections and Evaluation

I found it very difficult to create a bond with indigenous children. They were so afraid that they are not able to communicate properly with me about the conditions and problems they have faced. Building a relationship with them was very challenging. It took a lot of time to make them free to discuss their experience that they have faced. I found that there are many peoples around the world who considers indigenous children's as slaves and labours. Moreover, most of the families who have adopted them had not considered them as a part of their family and treated them as an outsider and forced them to adopt white culture. However, working with an organization involved in improving the health conditions and facilities to indigenous people was very inspiring. These organizations motivated me to work for making a welcoming environment for indigenous peoples and helping the children’s from being criticized. I feel very proud to work as a social worker to resolve the social issues related to indigenous children’s.


It can be concluded that the purpose of addressing a social issue related to indigenous children was fulfilled. The report has briefly demonstrated the problems and concerns faced by indigenous children’s and their families. Moreover, the social problem was discussed as its outcomes were evaluated that affected the selected population. Different strategies and action plans were made in order to overcome these problems. The report discussed various social work theoretical perspectives, ways of engagement and working alliance, intervention or action plans need to overcome the social issue. A critical reflection has also been carried out to analyse the obstacles and favorable conditions regarding the conduction of campaign and involvement with the selected social group.


Azpitarte, F.Chigavazira, A. Kalb, G. Farrant, B.M. Perales, F. and Zubrick, S.R. 2019. Childcare use and its role in indigenous child development: Evidence from the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children in Australia. Economic Record, 95(308), pp.1-33.

Bodkin-Andrews, G. Whittaker, A. Cooper, E.Parada, R.H. Denson, N. and Bansel, P. 2017. Moving beyond essentialism: Aboriginal parental perceptions of school bullying and school engagement.In Indigenous Children Growing Up Strong (pp. 153-178). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

DeSorcy, D.R. Olver, M.E. and Wormith, J.S. 2016.Working alliance and its relationship with treatment outcome in a sample of aboriginal and non-aboriginal sexual offenders.Sexual Abuse, 28(4), pp.291-313.

Dossetor, P.J. Martiniuk, A.L. Fitzpatrick, J.P. Oscar, J. Carter, M. Watkins, R. Elliott, E.J. Jeffery, H.E. and Harley, D. 2017. Pediatric hospital admissions in Indigenous children: a population-based study in remote Australia. BMC pediatrics, 17(1), p.195.

Egan, R &Craik, C. (2016).Taking action: change and intervention. In J. Maidment& R. Egan (3rd ed.), Practice skills in social work and welfare: More than just common sense (pp. 227-243). NSW, Australia: Allen &Unwin.

Hernández, A. Ruano, A. L. Marchal, B. San Sebastián, M. and Flores, W. 2017.Engaging with complexity to improve the health of indigenous people: a call for the use of systems thinking to tackle health inequity.International Journal for Equity in Health, 16(1), 26.

McDowall, J.J. 2016.Connection to culture by indigenous children and young people in out-of-home care in Australia.Communities, Children and Families Australia, 10(1), p.5.

McLeod, C. Adunuri, N. and Booth, R. 2019. Risk factors and mitigation of influenza among Indigenous children in Australia, Canada, United States, and New Zealand: a scoping review. Perspectives in public health, 139(5), pp.228-235.

Nipperess, S. (2016).Towards a critical human rights-based approach to social work practice. In B. Pease, S. Goldingay, N. Hosken& S. Nipperess (1st eds.), Doing critical social work:

transformative practices for social justice (pp. 73-88). Crows Nest, NSW: Allen &Unwin.

Ostrowski, J.A. MacLaren, G. Alexander, J. Stewart, P. Gune, S. Francis, J.R. Ganu, S. Festa, M. Erickson, S.J.Straney, L. and Schlapbach, L.J. 2017. The burden of invasive infections in critically ill Indigenous children in Australia.Medical Journal of Australia, 206(2), pp.78-84.

Wall, A. 2018.NACCHO conference.ANZCA Bulletin, 26(4), 25.

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