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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 14 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 4193..


have their day surgery in a specialised area as well, and also there is the education and training facility.

I am not going to pretend that the hospital is not busy. It is. But I am confident that we have got the balance right with the different models of care. The review into maternity services that I commissioned will be released shortly, which will have thoroughly examined some of those issues around capacity.

Children and young people—care and protection

MS LAWDER: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Children and Young People. Minister, I refer to media reports that an infant died, despite care and protection authorities being warned 11 times that the baby was at risk, and that overall care and protection reports have increased by 20 per cent in the last year. Minister, have you ordered a review of current practices within ACT care and protection?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Lawder for her question. Care and protection has had a number of significant reviews and there certainly has been significant development around policies and procedures and the supervision of staff. It is a human service, so in many ways it is constantly reviewing its practice. The ACT and every other jurisdiction in the country faces increasing child concerns reporting. I think it is a mix of the good, solid adoption of mandatory reporting and also an informed community that recognises children at risk and to do a report. Every concern report received is considered by the good, solid staff and through their systems in care and protection.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Lawder.

MS LAWDER: Minister, what additional resources are being directed to that area of CSD given the 20 per cent increase in the number of reports?

MS BURCH: One of the things is making sure we have front-line staff. There is an ongoing recruitment process for front-line staff. Also, there is supporting them in their practice so that they can reflect on and be supervised within their practice. Anyone in human services would understand the value of that reflective practice and making sure that they are mentored and supported in their decision making.

There have been a number of changes put in. We have committed to a trauma centre as well. That will work with families in either an early intervention phase or post-placement, to make sure that these very vulnerable children and families are supported. Not every concern report results in an assessment that means children are taken into statutory care. It is also about partnerships with our community organisations around good, solid, early intervention.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, when did you first learn of the issues regarding the baby?

MS BURCH: I will just remind Mr Doszpot that, under the Children and Young People Act, I am not going to come into this place and have a discussion about individual child matters.


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