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         Mary Moore's Speech at Grandmothers
        Against Removal's Rally Feb 13th - Canberra

        
http://www.allianceforfamilypreservationandrestoration.webs.com
         Twitter @marluke1

           
           Grandmothers Against Removals (GMAR)
           http://stopstolengenerations.com.au/

      
Twitter #GrandmothersAgainstRemovals
        Transcript Copy:

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Australian child protection departments are forcibly removing more children per head of population then any other western nation.  

The statistics are on the banner.



This is a title of great shame causing immense harm and trauma to vulnerable children and families that will impact for the rest of their lives and future generations.

Even more shameful is the fact that nearly one third of children in care are indigenous yet they account for less then 5% of children under 17.

No one should have the power to take children from their family by force when they have not committed any crime and without evidence. GMAR demand an end to forced removals and a moratorium on the use of police armed with guns, tazers, batons and pepper spray to forcibly remove children.

Forced removals are still happening as a first resort with no investigation taking place, no warnings to parents and no help or support offered. Forcibly removing children is the most drastic, costly and intrusive act a government can carry out.

If you have any doubts at all that children are being stolen in this country on a daily basis go to the current Senate Inquiry into children in OOHC website and read Submission No 27 written by a solicitor – one of the very few who actually has tried to defend parents for the past 6 years (George Potconyak) it describes exactly how children are stolen in the Secret Care Courts due to the “perverted interpretation and application of the Care and Protection Legislation” – were no evidence is required.

Legal Aid Solicitors are under funded for Care and Protection matters resulting in inadequate or at times no legal defense for parents by their appointed solicitors.

A recent trend is emerging where parents qualify for Legal Aid but then have their grant refused on the grounds that the case has “No Merit”.  So traumatised parents are placed in the impossible situation of trying to defend themselves against crown lawyers with unlimited government funds because an office clerk has pre judged their case – this is disgraceful injustice.

Appeals are not funded by legal aid nor are most applications for restoration so the children of the poor and marginalised are stolen for the term of their childhood with no review.

Sadly our governments have failed to learn the painful and destructive lessons of the past and have rapidly escalated the rate of child stealing in the last decade on the ludicrous probability that it is better to take a child because they might suffer a risk of harm at some time in the future if left with family, while at the same time failing to acknowledge the far greater evidenced harm to children forcibly removed and placed in care especially with strangers.

Saying sorry for past abuse and failures is meaningless while children are still being stolen, deaths and abuse of children in care are still happening at an alarming rate and still being covered up in Australia’s multi billion dollar child protection industry that caters to the whims of the profiteering stake holders not our children and certainly not their families.

There is no transparency or accountability with Child Protection departments that refuse to publish data and this sets the example for NGO’s and continues the cover ups that have always been a part of the secret child protection industry as evidenced daily in the current Royal Commission. They must be forced by law to publish the data of children who are abused and die in their care including the alarming suicide rate of children and their parents torn apart and destroyed by the current alienating tactics used by child protection industry.

RTI is continually denied in Care and Protection matters on the grounds that it is not in the best interests of the public to know what is going on. We believe it is in the best interest of the public to know about the breaches of law, the human right’s violations, and abuse of children and families by our governments.

Child abuse does not discriminate it is found in every class of society -Domestic Violence, Substance abuse, Mental Health Issues, disability, emotional, physical, sexual abuse and even neglect span all classes of Australian society but only the marginalised, disadvantaged and poorer class including the homeless have their children forcibly removed which is blatant social eugenics and genocide for the indigenous and why GMAR are demanding Aboriginal control of Aboriginal child welfare.
 
Debra Lee Furness has announced several times last month that 11,000 babies were removed from their mother’s last year in Australia - these alarming figures show that supply is underway for the well off childless couples that want other peoples children and so is another stolen generation.

We need laws that ensure NO newborn babies can be forcibly removed without a Court Hearing attended by both parties and evidence of abuse or neglect. The decision to remove a child and especially a newborn baby must be made by a Magistrate after a Hearing of evidence not by a caseworker as happens now.

We now have babies being taken from the maternity wards and placed under 18 year final orders in less then 50 days with do defense afforded to the parents.

The forced adoption agenda is being spread around the nation by the rich, powerful and influential childless couples wanting other people’s children. Forced Adoption is now legal in NSW and a first priority for children in care. Indigenous children were supposed to be precluded from forced adoptions but as usual the departments are proving their contempt by serving parents with forced adoption applications for their indigenous.

NSW is providing financial incentives for NGO’s to forcibly adopt children in care they now receive receive in excess of $21,000 up front for every forced adoption assessment they start and more then double that on completion of the disposal of each child out of care to a forced adoption. This is outrageous. Why is this money not being used for family restorations?

We already have Long Term Guardianship orders which provide all the security a child needs in a loving home if they can’t be restored to their families. Adoption only serves those that want other people’s children.
There is no legal definition for the “Best Interests of the child ” in State and territory jurisdictions a term first used by Adolf Hitler for his own master eugenics plan. A term now used and abused to mean what ever the dominant and powerful want it to mean.

Until the forced removal of children by the state and territory governments is a fair and just process based on evidence no child should be forcibly removed and no stolen child in care should be forcibly adopted when they have families who love them fighting for their return.

Australia has had more then 80 Inquiries into children in state and territory care in the last 160 years. All have evidenced the system is a failure. But most of the recommendations were never implemented to fix the failures.
The bringing them home report is a good example – if the recommendations of that report released in 1997 had been made law we would not be here today.

Most of the submissions to the current inquiry into OOHC advocate as we do for family preservation, because it is evidenced best practice but unless it is mandated in Law it will never happen because the respective departments do not work with families, they work against them and unless they are made to work with families by law and trained in how to work with families it just won’t happen. I sit in meetings with child protection workers as a support person for families and I have yet to observe a worker that knows how to even talk to families let alone work with them.

For all of us that have had the lived experience of the failed child protection industry we know that LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY in a major factor for its failure.

While our governmets talk of supporting families to stay together and only taking children as a last resort, in practice those principles are being ignored because there are no laws that compel the child protection departments to support families only laws that support governments to forcibly remove children without any evidence just a concern or opinion as no evidence in required in the secret care courts.

The financial facts evidence this very clearly. Only around 10% of funding nationally is spent on family support, 30% is spent on solicitors and legal costs and the remaining 60% is spent on the costs of Out of Home Care.

It is time to scrap the failed child protection systems and secret Care Courts run by the state and territory governments and for the Australian Federal Government to takeover jurisdiction of our vulnerable children.

We need new Federal legislation that incorporates evidenced best practice for family preservation, laws that are fair and just for every child no matter where they live in Australian, where evidence of a crime of abuse or neglect is required before a child is forcibly removed and human rights are protected with independent accountability to ensure integrity and higher standards to actually protect children.

Less then 5% of parents who have children in OOHC have been convicted of abuse or neglect of their children and they are dealt with through the criminal jurisdictions. Stop forcibly removing children unless there is evidence sufficient to warrant a charge of criminal abuse or neglect. In all other cases use that 30% of funding wasted on litigation to intensively support families to remain safely together, as no crimes have been committed.

At the very least the secret care courts must be opened up to public scrutiny and the rules of evidence must apply with parents given the presumption of innocents until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt like every other jurisdiction in Australia.

Parents must be given equal access to legal representation funded at the same rate as child protection departments in keeping with Human rights and the right to be treated equally in a court of law.

All current cases must be independently audited in consultation with families for Restoration nationwide especially in cases were children have been taken without evidence, were laws have been breached and for a possible future risk of harm which never acknowledges the harm done to a child from forced removal and life in care under the current failed system. As each child is restored funds are available to help and support families to remain safely together instead of removing their children. As restoration and family preservation will rapidly reduce the numbers of children in OOHC as has occurred overseas with mandatory family preservation models, more funds will be available to implement prevention of child abuse and neglect programs nationwide. Within a decade massive sayings will be achieved, we will have stronger families and better protection of children that will continue into future generations and be in the best interest of children, their families and all of Australia.

Child protection workers are NOT a registered Profession in Australia. Unlike all other professions they have no Governing Body to establish and mandate codes of practice, conduct or even base levels of education and training. No external Board is monitoring their performance to protect the public from the harm their opinions and misconduct are doing to children and families everyday. No one is holding these unregistered caseworkers accountable in an environment of secrecy, yet they have more power then any other Professional in Australia.

As a Registered Nurse I am held accountable for all of my actions by AHPRA, as are all other health and medical professionals. If I treated my patients and families as they do I would be disciplined or deregistered.
We urgently need mandatory National registration for all child protection workers so an independent governing body can hold them accountable for their misconduct and abuse of children and families.

Unregistered caseworker opinions are made without adequate investigations, as evidence is not required in the secretive Care Courts so Parents are denied justice because a caseworker has failed to adequately investigate the truth of allegations or lied in their affidavits.  I am yet to read an unregistered caseworker’s Affidavit that does not contain defamation of parents, false allegations, and out right lies.

That is how and why so many children are stolen.

There is NO external complaints mechanism in the Australian Child Protection Industry so evidenced complaints are NOT being investigated by anyone but themselves and the Department is NOT being held to account for their misconduct when dealing with vulnerable families and abuse of children in their care by anyone. Failures are being ignored and covered up.

We urgently need a national independent complaints mechanism empowered with both investigative and prosecutorial powers where parents and children can go with their evidenced complaints of abuse, misconduct and crimes being committed against them by the child protection industry everyday to force accountability. 
Cases are documented as substantiated not on evidence but on the opinion of an unregistered caseworker so all of the data that refers to substantiated cases is extremely flawed.



66% of the 50,000 children currently in care were forcibly removed for emotional harm or neglect. The high numbers of emotional harm are for children exposed to domestic violence so start protecting the victims and remove the violent perpetrator not the child and stop the closures of DV support services.

The high numbers of neglect cases are due mainly to poverty so help the family out of poverty don’t steal their children. This illustrates that there are at least 30,000 stolen children currently in care that should have received help and support to remain safely with their families. A national restoration program to bring our stolen stolen children home must be a priority of government.

NGO’s and other stakeholders must not be funded by Child Protection to reduce corruption. I have seen case after case where the departments manipulates stakeholders to get the outcome they want and threaten to withdraw funds if they don’t comply and this perverts the course of justice.

There must be a legally binding contract that states what parents have to do to get their children back and when they have completed all that has been asked of them their children are immediately returned. I have seen case after case where parents have done every thing asked of them and they still don’t get their children back.

Mandatory reporting laws are actually killing children because the cases really in need of intervention are hard to identify when there are over 200,000 reports of children at risk and less then 30% of cases are ever sighted let alone assessed by a child protection worker. GMAR are calling for an end to the “mandatory reporting” system which creates a culture of fear and distrust with the schools, health and social services in communities due an avalanche of reports from workers making racist assumptions about families.

Qld has recently introduced a milder form of Mandatory reporting recommended by Commissioner Carmody whereby a family at risk can be referred to a family support agency rather then the child protection department if the risk of harm is not significant. Unfortunately there is no legal or even clear definition of what “significant risk of harm” actually means so greater clarity is required.

We need Mandatory prosecution for any person knowingly making a false or misleading risk of harm report to child protection authorities. Currently anyone making a report is protected from both civil and criminal prosecution and this would not only give families some protection against false allegations but also reduce the amount of notifications by deterring false, malicious and vexatious reports.

We need Laws that mandate placements with extended family as that is not happening enough and suitable extended family are being overlook and parents must have the right to approve of the family placement to ensure their child is not placed in an adversarial situation that will severe the bond between the child and parent as occurs now.

The failed policy of child stealing created by governments has to stop. Families must be supported to stay together when no crime has been committed.

No longer can Government’s plead ignorant.  The damage to children taken from their families and placed with strangers, either fostered or adopted, is horrendous and lifelong.  The damage to their parents has proven irreparable and is passed down to subsequent generations.

The only people benefiting in this multi billion-dollar Child Protection industry are the profiteering stakeholders many of whom are currently before the Royal Commission for their past and ongoing abuse of vulnerable children.
Without accountability this abuse will continue and current Government’s will have NO Defense when they are made to account for their abuse of another stolen generation.

So today on the anniversary of the Rudd apology to the Stolen Generation we are asking that meaning and action be given to the promises made 7 years ago.

Let us unite with one voice for National mandatory family preservation and restoration laws and

BRING OUR STOLEN CHILDREN HOME


                  Twitter @marluke1

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