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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3054 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

harm to themselves or another person. It is a highly intrusive intervention and for this reason was included in the legislation.

Under the terms of the act, section 245 required me to review the first 12 months of operation in relation to therapeutic protection, and I have now tabled a copy of the review. The purpose of the review was to determine whether therapeutic protection was being provided in appropriate cases and in appropriate ways to evaluate the effectiveness of therapeutic protection orders. On 15 June 2001, the Legislative Assembly was informed of the terms of reference of the review. Therapeutic protection orders are part of the act, division 5, sections 232 to 245. They are highly intrusive orders which entitle the chief executive of the Department of Education and Community Services to confine a young person in order to provide a particular treatment or a therapy.

Under the act, the chief executive of the Department of Education and Community Services may take certain action when providing therapeutic protection for a child or young person. The action includes restricting exit from a place, using reasonable force, personal searches, close or constant supervision and restriction on contact. Although no therapeutic protection order has been made in relation to a young person, there have been a number of cases where a therapeutic protection order was considered or was likely to be considered.

RPR Consulting was contracted by the Department of Education and Community Services to undertake the review. The review follows considerable changes that have occurred since 1998 in the arrangements for service delivery to families and young people in out-of-home care. The review took place against the background of the Clark report of 1998 into substitute care, which resulted in significant reform of the sector. This included the outsourcing of foster care to non-government agencies and the introduction of the looking after children system of guided practice across the sector.

The government agrees with the five recommendations made by the review. The recommendations are in relation to adolescent mental health beds, improved coordination of monitoring, review of the proposed ISCG at the completion of six months, individual support packages, and a broader review of young people with intensive support needs. Mr Speaker, the issue of adolescent mental health beds will be considered in the broader review of intensive youth support. It is agreed that improved coordination and monitoring of cases should be achieved through the establishment of the intensive support coordination group, which is the ISCG to which I referred earlier, as suggested by the review.

An initial meeting of the coordination group has been held. The group includes key decision makers and service coordinators from the care, health and justice systems. I believe that reviewing the functions and outcomes of the proposed consultation group over six months seems premature in view of the small numbers and the complexity of the children and young people involved. It would be more reasonable to review after a period of 12 months. Individual contracting of care in consultation with other service providers has been a feature of the substitute care service in the past 12 months. The department is keen to extend the use of these more flexible arrangements.

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