Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 8 Hansard (5 August) . . Page.. 3616..
(2) The Chief Executive, as the holder of parental authority, can be held responsible for damage to public property by a child in care, subject to a ruling by the court.
(3) The Court Unit of the Office for Children, Youth and Family Support would be consulted at the outset of a complaint of assault being made. It would be the decision of the carer to press assault charges. The investigation of potential criminal charges is a police responsibility. Dependent on the outcomes of police investigations the process would move towards a resolution of compensation and criminal issues. Advice from the Government Solicitor's Office indicates that it is most unlikely that there would be any liability in negligence on the part of the Territory. It is possible that the carer may have a claim under the Victims of Crime (Financial Assistance) Act. It is also possible that the carer may have an entitlement under a disability insurance policy or to social security payments.
(4) There is no specific reference in the Family Services manual regarding financial compensation for carers as a result of damage to property by children in care. The manual is primarily a policy and procedure manual for child protection workers. The manual is currently under review.
(5) No, risk management profile dictates that risk is carried by the Office on a contingency basis (rather than negotiate a premium with private insurers) See Question 6.
(6) Yes, the four foster care agencies (Barnardos, Galilee, Marymead and Life Without Barriers); Richmond Fellowship (residential care); and Hunter Support Services (individual support) are required by contract to cover themselves or the children in their care.
(a) This insurance is $10 million dollars;
(b) Foster carers are recruited, assessed, trained and supervised by foster care agencies under a purchaser/provider contract. A condition of the contract is that provider agencies "shall effect and maintain professional indemnity insurance relevant to its provision of the Services".
(7) This statistic is not a current performance indicator and therefore the Office is unable to generate a report of this nature. Specific information about each child or young person's academic progress is kept on their Office file. All children and young people in out-of-home care have Individual Education Plans which are developed by the Department of Education and Training, in partnership with the Office for Children, Youth and Family Services, foster carers, parents and the child or young person.
(8) The trend in the ACT towards care and protection orders which cease at the age of 16 years is in line with national and international trends. This trend appears to reflect the fact that young people of this age are generally, self-determining, and usually able to protect themselves from abuse and neglect. Where appropriate, the Children's Court does award orders which extend to 18 years. The decision is made by the Magistrate on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the maturity and best interests of the young person.
(Question No 1627)
Mrs Burkeasked the Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, upon notice, on 29 June 2004: