Indigenous parents are likely to score higher on risk assessments, resulting in increased contact with the Queensland Department of Children, the disability royal commission has heard.
Parameters include the number of children living at home, whether the primary parent has a history as a child of abuse or neglect, and prior mental health issues.
Appearing at the week-long hearing in Brisbane on Tuesday, chief practitioner for the department Meegan Crawford was asked if the effect of this could be 'that a family is effectively monitored more closely by the department if they are identified as being at a higher risk?"
In agreement, Dr Crawford said they're offered more support.
She said there was a difference between risk and danger, telling the hearing that risk evaluation helped to determine whether a child "is more or less likely" to experience abuse or neglect in the following 12 to 24 months.
Earlier, Thelma Schwartz of the Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Service said that when she began her role in 2015, failure to protect children from exposure to domestic and family violence contributed to removal.
A history of contact with the child protection system was also cited as a reason for child removal, Ms Schwartz told commissioners.
"You can see that by coming forward and making the disclosure that you've been a victim, which is all of this advertising and the whole genesis of the Not Now, Not Ever report, this is now used as a Catch-22 for this mother and used against her to remove her kids," Ms Schwartz said.
While language has become "more sophisticated" since a change in legislation in 2017, Ms Schwartz said this pattern continues to be the case.
"It still comes down to exposure to domestic and family violence (and if) you were a child yourself who has been through the child protection system," she said.
A case worker with Inala Indigenous health, Leigh Anne Pokino, told commissioners that contact with child safety services heightened existing mental health issues for Aboriginal parents.
She said they felt disempowered when dealing with government services.
In pre-recorded evidence, psychologist Tracy Westerman told the hearing that historically Aboriginal people did badly on mainstream tests, but results were "significantly higher" when assessment was done by someone with cultural competence.
She said Aboriginal people experience misdiagnosis, overdiagnosis and underdiagnosis arguably more than any population in the world.
Twenty five witnesses are scheduled to give evidence at the week-long Brisbane hearing of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.
The Brisbane hearing is examining the experiences of Indigenous people with a disability and their contact with child protection services.
Australian Associated Press