Child protection system faces another review

The state government is calling for submissions as it launches a scheduled review into South Australia’s child protection legislation.

Sep 05, 2022, updated Sep 05, 2022
Child Protection Minister Katrine Hildyard. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

Child Protection Minister Katrine Hildyard. Photo: Tony Lewis/InDaily

The review, which opens for public submissions tomorrow, is examining the functioning of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017, which is the central piece of legislation governing how the state’s Child Protection Department functions.

The Act covers a wide range of child protection issues including managing child removals and reports of children at risk, court orders, guardianship, foster care agencies, the powers and functions of the chief executive and child protection officers, and the child and young person’s visitor scheme.

The review of the Act will seek submissions from those with direct experience of the system, children and young people, carers and families, non-government and government partners, and the academic sector.

The state government says the review – mandated every five years – is an opportunity to “re-define what our child safety responses look like going forward”.

Child Protection Minister Katrine Hildyard said the review will be a “significant undertaking” and would aim to engage the public on the “intense challenges” faced in child protection.

“Through the review, we are determined to explore how we can increase family group conferencing; better detect and act on cumulative harm; improve responses when children are at risk due to parental meth use; and contend with the links between child protection and domestic and family violence and consider whether legislation could mandate perpetrator education,” she said in a statement.

“I encourage anyone who wants to provide feedback on the legislation to do so through the channels available over the next 10 weeks.

“This review represents a crucial and potentially transformative moment to better respond to the complex and deeply interconnected issues facing families and the child protection system and in doing so, improve children’s lives.”

Consultation sessions for the review will be held in September and October, with event details to be released on September 12.

InDaily in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

It’s the latest in a series of reviews into South Australia’s beleaguered child protection system, which has come under scrutiny this year after two child deaths that are being investigated by police as cases of alleged criminal neglect.

Former police commissioner Mal Hyde is leading a Department of Premier Cabinet review into what interactions government departments had with the families of those two children (Charlie, aged 6, and Makai, aged 7) and the appropriateness and effectiveness of the current systems in place.

This is alongside an independent post-coronial review being undertaken by New South Wales bureaucrat Kate Alexander scrutinising the government’s progress in implementing recommendations of previous child protection inquests.

There is also an ongoing review into South Australia’s foster and kinship care system – which has received more than 200 submissions – along with a separate Royal Commission-like inquiry into the state removal of Aboriginal children.

Hildyard said the legislation review would consider the findings of other inquiries and have a focus on Aboriginal engagement.

“Building an improved child protection system for the future requires amplifying the voices of those at its centre and engaging the broader community in public discussion about the intense challenges we face and what it will take to do better,” she said.

“This review gives us the opportunity to do so and, with one in three South Australian children notified to the child protection system before they are 18, do so we must.

“A key priority of the review is to work with Aboriginal stakeholders to deliver on our commitment to fully embed the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle.”

Premier Peter Malinauskas told ABC Radio last week that he hoped the Hyde review into child protection would be handed down “before the end of Spring”.

The state government has vowed to publicly release the report and act “urgently” on its recommendations.

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InDaily.
All rights reserved.