Locating Moral Responsibility

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Decolonising Indigenous Child Welfare: Comparative Perspectives, 2014, pp. 708 - 105
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Case-based child welfare services, delivered by bureaucratic government departments and in empirical data do not provide good outcomes for Indigenous children and young people. Further, an individualised approach conceals the systemic factors which drive inequality and high levels of contact with child welfare systems in particular with respect to neglect. This chapter examines why decision making within bureaucratic child welfare departments does not attain good outcomes for Indigenous children and why a policy of self-determination, within a human rights framework, is likely to provide a better framework for decision-making. This chapter considers the relationship between modes of decision making and the exercise of moral agency by decision makers and why valid and legitimate decision with respect to Indigenous children's well being need to substantially include Indigenous experience in the decision making process. Consideration is given to the justification for separate Indigenous making bodies, which are implied in policies and processes of self-determination. These justifications are found in terms of a commitment to political equality, in the historical and practical experiences of Indigenous peoples, which distinguish them from other minority or majority groups, in the the rule of law. It is suggested that recognition of Indigenous identity, histories and perspectives in decision making with respect to Indigenous children and young people's well being will contribute not only to more just and effective outcomes for Indigenous families but also to a more dynamic and enlarged democracy for the broader community.
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