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A human rights framework for Indigenous children's welfare and well being

Libesman, Teresa, Law, Faculty of Law, UNSW

2012

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  • Title:
    A human rights framework for Indigenous children's welfare and well being
  • Author/Creator/Curator: Libesman, Teresa, Law, Faculty of Law, UNSW
  • Subjects: Human rights; Indigenous; Children; Welfare; Well being; Judgement; Plurality
  • Resource type: Thesis
  • Type of thesis: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2012
  • Language: English
  • Print availability: T/2012/334 (Please speak to a staff member at the Library Help Zone)
  • Permissions: This work can be used in accordance with the Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license.
    Please see additional information at https://library.unsw.edu.au/copyright/for-researchers-and-creators/unsworks

  • Description: The failure of contemporary child welfare systems with respect to Indigenous children and young people points to the need for change. This thesis looks at why bureaucratic and mainstream responses to Indigenous children's well being have not been successful and whether a human rights framework can respond to Indigenous children's needs in more just and effective ways. Consideration is given to why bureaucratic decision making structures inhibit, and what structures promote, moral and fair judgements with respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young peoples’ welfare and well being. These questions are addressed from interdisciplinary perspectives, drawing on comparative national and international jurisprudential, empirical and doctrinal responses to Indigenous children's welfare and well being. The core thematic question being whether pluralisation of responses to Indigenous children and young peoples’ well being, within a cross-cultural post-colonial context, can provide better outcomes for Indigenous children and young people than they currently experience?The thesis argues that the conceptualisation of human rights as pluralised and inclusive, compared with understandings which are universal and standard setting, can and has contributed to the establishment of international and national human rights frameworks and processes for reforms to law and service delivery with respect to Indigenous children's welfare and well being. Further, the engagement with comparative legal and service delivery frameworks for Indigenous children's welfare and well being across Australia, Canada, the United States and New Zealand has contributed to the development of normative understandings with respect to the relationship between cultural care and Indigenous children's well being in the context of child welfare. This thesis suggests that the extension of a pluralised understanding of human rights from child welfare to structural reforms which underlie abuse and neglect, offers the scope to extend the benefits of a participatory approach from welfare to development style responses to Indigenous children's well being. Such an approach will not only improve Indigenous children's well being but will also strengthen democratic ideals by enlarging debate and democratic structures to incorporate Indigenous peoples’ experiences.

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