Far too much attention is paid to looking after children in Indigenous families once they have been taken from their homes and not enough to prevent it from happening in the first place, according to a report by an Aboriginal campaigning group.
The Family Matters report addresses why the children of Aboriginal and Torres Strati Island people are much more likely to be taken into care than non-Indigenous children - ten times more likely across Australia, according to the authors.
Part of the problem, according to one of the authors, Natalie Lewis, is that resources are skewed towards the care of children once they've been removed from families who can't look after them and not enough to helping those families so they can keep their children at home.
The budgeting needs to be skewed back to prevent the child being removed in the first place.
The proportion of children from Indigenous families who end up in protective care away is highest in the ACT of all the Australian states and territories (though Tasmania does not have reliable figures).
This is because the ACT's system of child-protection is overly insular, according to Ms Lewis. "It's a very closed system," she said.
She said that a case of a child in a difficult family situation is referred to the ACT government agency and the deliberations about what should happen to the child then takes place without enough consultation with people outside the agency, particularly those in the Indigenous community.
She believes this leads to a high rate of children being removed from their homes and families.
"It can be fixed," she said.
She wants want child support agencies run by Aboriginal people so that families trust them.
At the moment, Ms Lewis said that some families in crisis fear going to existing non-Aboriginal agencies because parents think their child will automatically be taken away.
The report authors believe the situation will worsen if nothing is done. "Data projections suggest that the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care will more than double in the next 10 years if we do not change our course of action."
In contrast to the common perception, Ms Lewis said that Indigenous children were less likely to be taken from their families because of violence, including sexual violence, than were non-Indigenous children. The biggest reason was neglect because families were poor and unable to cope.
She said that Queensland had changed its system to put much more emphasis on supporting families to prevent a child having to be removed, and the figures showed that the change was working.
Officials from the ACT had been to Queensland to look at the system there.
Earlier in the year, the minister for children, young people and families and Aboriginal affairs accepted that the high rate of Indigenous children taken into care was unacceptable. "The ACT government is determined to work with the community to reduce over-representation and create a culturally safe system," she said.