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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 4248..


Children—care and protection

(Question No 1336)

Mrs Burke asked the Minister for Disability and Community Services, upon notice, on 17 October 2006:

(1) What is the status and effectiveness of the community education program to improve community awareness of child safety and to explain the role of the community in the role of the child protection network of community, Government and family;

(2) Will the Government provide a copy of the comprehensive communication plan it agreed to develop in 2004; if not, why not.

Ms Gallagher

: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) This question arises from recommendations 2.1 and 6.1 of The Territory as Parent report (2004). The Government agreed to implement this recommendation. Partnerships have been established with ACT Health and the Department of Education and Training to develop training programs to inform staff of their roles and responsibilities in protecting children and reporting child abuse. Regular education sessions have been run for other government and community based agencies. Since February 2005 one hundred and fifty four (154) education sessions have been run for services who support families. A fact sheet was distributed on the Department's website that advised community partners of amendments to the Children and Young People Act 1999. A series of information sessions were delivered regarding these changes and over 500 people attended these sessions. The booklet 'Keeping Children and Young People Safe' was revised in August 2006 and approximately 18,000 copies have been distributed to a broad range of government and non-government agencies to date.

(2) This question arises from recommendation 8.20 of The Territory as Parent report (2004). The Government agreed to implement this recommendation. A comprehensive communication plan has been developed which consists of the following measures:

    • The Office for Children, Youth and Family Support (OCYFS) launched its online Operational Guide Portal available to all OCYFS staff in September 2006. The portal is restricted to OCYFS staff and contains detailed information about policies, procedures, legislation and practice directions.
    • The development of a communications strategy with the Out of Home Care sector is currently underway. A proposal to develop an on-line portal has been agreed to by the Out of Home Care Committee, with direct access to essential information regarding Care and Protection Services.
    • Information on care and protection services is available to all individuals and can be found on the internet at: www.dhcs.act.gov.au This site is maintained and updated regularly.
    • A regular newsletter has been produced by OCYFS. The newsletter targets service providers who work with children and their families and aims to inform about developments in child protection. Priority is given to explaining the important role community and government agencies play in protecting children. These documents can be found at: www.dhcs.act.gov.au/ocyfs/publications


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