The Australian and Aboriginal flags flew on Sydney Harbour Bridge
The Australian and Aboriginal flags flew on Sydney Harbour Bridge AFP / Wendell TEODORO

A recent report has revealed that one-in-ten Aboriginal children are placed under out-of-home care, while one-in-two Aboriginal children are reported at least once to child protection authorities.

While tabling the Holding on to Our Future report in the South Australia parliament, Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People April Lawrie pointed to the "institutional racism" practiced by the state in separating Aboriginal children from their families and communities, which impacted their wellbeing and health, ABC News reported.

The report also found that there was a dearth of adequate funding for early intervention services of vulnerable children, the responsiveness of the Department for Child Protection (DCP) was "severely lacking," and Aboriginal families were not consulted while taking decisions.

"The state is unnecessarily removing disproportionate and growing numbers of Aboriginal children from their families and communities, causing long-term harm to their health, wellbeing and life chances," Lawrie said. "Aboriginal children have had enough of watching an institutionally racist system."

The report recommended that the state reduce the number of children being placed under child care, amend protection laws to include the Child Placement Principle and that DCP work with the Aboriginal community to improve the status of Aboriginal children.

Lawrie has reportedly spent two years examining South Australia's adherence to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle, according to which children should be removed from their families only as a last resort.

By 2013, the number of children being sent away to state care could rise to 140 in every 1,000 Aboriginal children. The state must implement urgent reforms or the government will have to bear the cost, the report recommended, InDaily reported.

"Failure to act means that struggling, vulnerable families will continue to encounter the child protection service system at increasing rates, and that Aboriginal children being removed from their families will mean the government will pay the cost one way or another, for matters that are preventable," Lawrie said.