New foster agency sign of the times

Readers of Australian newspapers 50 years ago would not have found stories about Aboriginal communities playing a key official role in protecting children.

Governments assumed all that power then, which underlines the significance of the announcement of a new Aboriginal foster care agency at Dubbo in the past week.

The announcement was made not just by NSW Community Services, a government department, but also by AbSec, an incorporated not-for-profit organisation.

AbSec is recognised as the peak NSW Aboriginal body providing child protection and out-of-home care policy advice, according to its website.

The announcement was made against a background of the government transferring foster care and other types of out-of-home care to the non-government sector.

At the start of the Dubbo venture all parties appeared optimistic.

Community Services' Maree Walk said three Aboriginal communities from Dubbo, Wellington and Narromine had formed a community-run agency called Ngurambang, a first of its kind.

Ms Walk anticipated it would have "marked benefits" for Aboriginal children in care.

AbSec's Bill Pritchard also heralded a new era.

"The creation of this new Aboriginal agency has really set the wheels in motion to achieve our goal to have all Aboriginal children in care placed with Aboriginal carers and supervised by Aboriginal caseworkers employed by Aboriginal agencies," he said.

The Daily Liberal also looks forward to real and long-term improvements for the children of Dubbo.

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