Government to review over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out of home care
The ACT Government’s review into the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out of home care acknowledges the challenges faced by the ACT and other jurisdictions.
The most recent Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, Child Protection Australia 2015-2016, found that ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were represented at more than 12 times the rate that they are represented in the community generally.
The investment in new services to keep Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children safely at home or restore them to their birth family under our five-year out of home care strategy, A Step Up for Our Kids is a good start and showing some positive early results, but we can do more.
As a consequence, I have asked that an independent review be conducted to provide us with a deeper understanding of this problem and how to best respond.
The primary focus of the review will be to inform systemic improvements. The Government will engage with Canberra’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and key Indigenous organisations in the development of the review as their input will be essential in designing an effective review methodology.
This review will examine case planning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children or young people known to ACT Child and Youth Protection Services. This task will be conducted by a team led by skilled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with experienced in child protection.
The reviewers will work alongside the independent experts who sit on the Child and Youth Protection Quality Assurance Improvement Committee (CYPQAI) panel, which was established in 2016 as part of a $2.47 million initiative under the Safer Families package to enhance quality assurances practices and to support improved decision making in Child and Youth Protection Services.
The Government will not rush this complex review. We will give it time to fully explore all the issues and it is crucial that both the process and any decisions keep children and young people at the centre, with their needs and best interests paramount. The first phase of the review will commence in the second half of 2017 and deliver an interim report twelve months from commencement. This will focus on early learnings and initial improvements to the system.
The second phase of the review will commence following the delivery of the interim report and provide a final report to government twelve months after the interim report that will focus on major systemic improvement.
- Statement ends -
Section: Rachel Stephen-Smith, MLA | Media Releases
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