Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 11 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 4535..
Community Services Directorate—payment of accounts
MR HANSON: My question is to the Minister for Community Services. Minister, the ACT Public Advocate, in her interim report on the review of the emergency response strategy for children in crisis in the ACT, noted that policies and procedures "have had a serious and detrimental impact on children for whom the Director-General has parental responsibilities". In particular, the report noted that "there were no places and request forms on either the paper or the electronic file of the nine children subject to the specific incidents that initiated this review". Minister, how could this element of process be omitted and what have you done to satisfy yourself that it will not happen in future?
MS BURCH: I thank Mr Hanson for his question. The Public Advocate has clearly been a matter of discussion throughout, I think, most of the time of the Assembly this morning. She has made a number of findings. She has made a number of recommendations. I have given a commitment here—I will give a commitment again—that we will work through each and every one of those recommendations. We will formulate a formal response and we will do that as a matter of urgency.
Placement of children in out-of-home care is done as the last resort. Each time a placement is made, those placement emergency arrangements are provided to the Public Advocate and then they are tested and validated within the court system. All of those processes have been followed. All of these emergency placements have been made, advice provided to the Public Advocate, independent of this review, and validated within the court system.
MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Hanson.
MR HANSON: Minister, why was this element of the process omitted specifically in relation to the children whose plight sparked the Public Advocate's review?
MS BURCH: I do not have the paperwork in front of me or the Public Advocate's report in front of me. But I will say that each emergency placement, each emergency arrangement, has been notified to the Public Advocate, and tested, validated and agreed within the court structure.
MR SPEAKER: Supplementary, Mrs Dunne.
MRS DUNNE: Minister, why can't you answer the question as to why there was no paperwork for these nine children?
MS BURCH: Because I do not sit in 11 Moore Street and I do not have the paperwork in front of me. What I do have in front of me is the Public Advocate's advice, advice that those placement arrangements were provided to the Public Advocate and were approved and validated through the court system.
MR SPEAKER: Supplementary, Mr Seselja.