Page 962 - Week 03 - Thursday, 3 April 2008

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I tabled before the Legislative Assembly in September 2006 the recommendations made in the Murray-Mackie report, the government response to each recommendation and details of their implementation.

This government is committed to ongoing reform in the provision of child protection services and this study provided us with recommendations to promote ongoing learning and to improve service delivery. This progress report provides you with information concerning the main areas of work undertaken since the commissioning of the report to advance its recommendations. The report I table today informs you that, of the 55 recommendations made, 50 have been completed and implemented. The five remaining recommendations involve ongoing processes.

The achievements brought about by this work include:

• the development of protocols and procedures within ACT Health concerning vulnerable infants, from birth to two years of age,

• legislative amendments to enable prenatal reporting,

• development and implementation of supportive structures for parents of infants provided by ACT Health and care and protection services,

• review of the risk assessment framework to improve the identification and responses to vulnerable infants and their families,

• revised policies and practices to ensure timely, holistic and clearer responses to vulnerable infants and their families,

• policies and procedures to support and assist families where drug dependency and mental health issues are impacting on the care of children,

• additional training and guidance for staff across government and non-government agencies, and

• development of protocols with key stakeholder agencies—for example, the Domestic Violence Crisis Service and ACT Policing’s sexual abuse and child abuse team.

As noted, the remaining recommendations relate to ongoing work, such as exploring a new structure for review of child deaths with ACT Health and ongoing management of workplace aggression and stress.

Other significant reforms in child protection and out of home care which have occurred over the same period include:

• amendments to the Children and Young People Act 1999, introducing prenatal reporting and clarifying mandatory reporting requirements,

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