A song of children being swept away

Margaret Smith and Rene Kulitja sing a song describing children being taken away by a “whirly – whirly”, the song talks about the impact of children being taken away by Child Protection.

While the song was created many years ago in remote Central Australia (during the period of the Stolen Generation), it resonates for many Anangu families on the NPY lands today – where children have been removed by Child Protection.

NPY Women’s Council Directors met with the Children’s Guardians & Commissioners from NT, WA and SA last week to talk about unifying tri-state child protection services for the central desert region.  A key concern for Anangu is that they have three child protection jurisdictions in their region, a region where Anangu family systems aren’t restricted to state borders.

Differing and complex Child Protection systems between SA, NT & WA can cause children to be lost in the system and cases to close where there is still concern for the welfare of children.

“Some of our children may be at risk because if they leave the Ngaanyatjarra lands and go to to the Pitjantjatjara lands, WA will close the case and there is no follow up these children. We want governments to collaborate and work with NPY Women’s Council to keep children safe and connected to their culture, family and home and make sure they do not disappear from communities and have another stolen generation “

Jacqueline McGowan – Jones (Children’s Commissioner WA)

“We want the three states to have one child protection law for the children. We have been talking about this for many years, it’s time to sort this out.” 

Margaret Smith, Director, NPY Women’s Council

Anangu children are at a greater risk of harm as a result of the systemic cross border child protection issues experienced in the NPY Region. Child Protection Cross border issues occur at every level of the system, from notification, orders, access and reunification. NPYWC are calling for a Cross Border Child Protection Framework to be adopted into legislation across the three jurisdictions so Anangu children and families have a fair and just child protection system.

Find our more about our Child & Family Wellbeing Service