"A lot of people think the stolen generation has been and gone but it's still happening," Aboriginal advocate Sissy Austin said.
The region's Aboriginal community is asking the broader Ballarat community to stand in solidarity with them this Wednesday, to protest against the number of Aboriginal children being removed from their homes by Child Protection.
Following a call from the Aboriginal Grandmothers Against Removals in Victoria, communities across the state will stand outside government offices across the state on the day of significance.
Aboriginal women Sissy Austin and Rachel Muir answered the call to organise a protest in Ballarat, to be hosted on National Sorry Day.
Since then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised to Aboriginal people for the actions of past governments in 2008, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care has increased.
According to a Family Matters Report, there were 20,077 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care as of 30 June 2019, representing one in every 16.6 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in Australia.
Indigenous children were found to be almost 10 times more likely to be in out-of-home care than non-Indigenous children - an over-representation the report states has increased consistently during the last decade.
The report states that over-representation in out-of-home care has increased in every state and territory during the last decade. In 2019 it was highest in Western Australia (16.7), followed closely by Victoria (16.1).
"National Sorry Day is an incredibly emotional time for all Aboriginal people across the country," Ms Austin said.
Ms Austin's father was the first Victorian Aboriginal man from the stolen generation to receive a written apology from the state government in regards to his removal as a child.
"I grew up hearing dad's story and the impact his removal has had on his entire life," Ms Austin said.
She recently watched the footage of the first Sorry Day rally in Melbourne more than 20 years ago, which was organised by her father and aunty.
At the rally, her father stood up and said he didn't want to be standing up and fighting the same fight 10 years later, which sadly has turned out to be necessary, Ms Austin said.
"We are seeing massive amounts of Aboriginal children removed and placed in white foster placements, not within their communities," she said.
For Ms Austin, "the most upsetting thing" is that many of the recommendations from the Bringing them Home: Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families, tabled in 1997, have yet to be put in place.
Ms Austin added the problem was exacerbated by the fact Aboriginal people felt they couldn't seek help when required, as support services were not always culturally safe and because these services were required to report to Child Protection.
As a result of a "vicious cycle" where community members did not feel safe to access support, she said young people were continuing to be traumatised by being removed from their families and separated from their siblings.
"My dad's story is heartbreaking and it is traumatising to see the numbers of kids still being removed."
She described the situation as "heartbreaking". Since the age of 21, she has been a kinship carer - previously for cousins and currently for nieces and nephews - so she is "living and breathing" it.
Last year the state government announced a redress scheme for members of the stolen generation, which Ms Austin described as "great" but said the current situation needed to be addressed.
She wants the current policies to be reviewed and more community designed and led programs to support Aboriginal families.
While one reason for this week's protest is to raise awareness among the wider community, it is also to show solidarity with Aboriginal children in care.
We will show kids in care that we see them, we are fighting for them and we haven't forgotten about them.Sissy Austin
"They don't have a voice until they leave care at 18.
"We will show kids in care that we see them, we are fighting for them and we haven't forgotten about them.
"A lot of people think the stolen generation has been and gone but it's still happening.
"We need allies to come and stand by our side."
Organisers are calling for people to bring a white flower to lay on the steps in respect of the children removed and the parents who lost their children.
The gathering will take place at 402 Mair Street from 5pm.
Affected by this story? Phone Lifeline on 13 11 14. 24/7 Aboriginal crisis support is also available from Yarning SafeNStrong, 1800 959 563