Last updated 2 August 2016

When the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (Child Safety) is making significant decisions about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, it must give an opportunity to a recognised entity for the child to participate in the decision-making process (s 6(1) Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld) (Child Protection Act)). A recognised entity can be either an individual or a group of people who are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent and have appropriate knowledge of, or expertise in, child protection (s 246I Child Protection Act). When making other decisions, Child Safety must consult with a recognised entity for the child (s 6(2) Child Protection Act).

The Childrens Court

If the Childrens Court exercises power under the Child Protection Act, it must have regard to:

  • the views about the child and about Aboriginal tradition and Island custom relating to the child from a recognised entity, or if not practicable, members of the community to whom the child belongs
  • the general principle that an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child should be cared for within an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community (s 6(4)(b) Child Protection Act).

As far as is reasonably practicable, Child Safety must try to conduct all consultations, negotiations, meetings and proceedings involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in a way and in a place that is appropriate to Aboriginal tradition or Island custom (s 6(5) Child Protection Act).

Indigenous child placement principle

If an Aboriginal or a Torres Strait Islander child is removed from their family, the Indigenous child placement principle (s 83 Child Protection Act) requires Child Safety to place the child, in order of priority, with:

  • a member of the child’s family
  • a member of the child’s community or language group
  • another Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander who is compatible with the child’s community or language group
  • another Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander.

If Child Safety decides there is no appropriate person mentioned above in whose care the child may be placed, then Child Safety must give proper consideration to placing the child, in order of priority, with a person who lives:

  • near the child’s family
  • near the child’s community or language group.

If Child Safety places an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child in the care of a family member or other person who is not Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, Child Safety must give proper consideration to whether the person is committed to helping the child to:

  • maintain contact with their parents and other family members
  • maintain contact with their community or language group
  • maintain a connection with their culture
  • preserve and enhance the child’s sense of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander identity.