Page 243 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2006

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Ms Gallagher presented the following paper:

Children and Young People Act—Review of the operation of the Children and Young People Act 1999—Report on key findings, dated December 2005.

Safety of children in the care of the ACT and of ACT Child Protection Management

Papers and statement by minister

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations) (3.56): For the information of members, I present the following papers:

The Territory as Parent—Third six-month status reports—

Review of the safety of children in the care of the ACT and of ACT child protection management, dated February 2006.

The Territory’s Children—Ensuring safety and quality care of children and young people—Report on the audit and case review, dated February 2006.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the papers.

I am pleased to table the third six-month progress report on the implementation of the agreed recommendations of the reports into child safety and protection in the ACT—The Territory as parent and The territory’s children. I previously reported to the Assembly on these matters in February and August last year.

We continue to get on with the job of reforming our care and protection system. The pace of progress has not slackened despite the continuing increase in demand for care and protection services. In 2004-05 reports of abuse or neglect of children or young people in Canberra grew by 52 per cent over the previous year. There have already been 4,500 child protection reports in the first six months of 2005-06. As members will be aware, this is a national trend. In the ACT a number of factors contribute to the ongoing increases in demand, including better reporting procedures and heightened community awareness about child protection issues. The Vardon and Murray reviews and similar work in other jurisdictions have raised community awareness of child protection issues. We also have a well-educated, informed population that tends to report, as well as 15,000 mandated reporters in various professions.

In 2004-05, 8,115 child protection reports were made to care and protection authorities in the ACT. In the same year the number of children and young people in care was 423. At the end of December 2005, that number had grown to 449—double the number three years ago. These numbers make it very clear to members and the community that an ongoing challenge for care and protection services continues in the ACT. These are all

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