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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3046 ..

2008. The Children and Young People Act 2008 was passed in the Assembly in July 2008. Implementation commenced in September 2008 and was completed in July 2009. During its implementation, a small number of issues were identified that required clarification of interpretation and flexibility of application.

The amendments proposed encompass four sections of the act. I consider these amendments to be minor and technical in nature. Their passing will continue to protect reporters of child protection concerns to the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services as well as improve the care and protection aspects of the legislation.

The bill proposes an amendment to the mandatory reporting provisions of section 365 as they apply to children and young people where an approval has been provided under the Education Act 2004 for their home schooling. The bill proposes that the mandatory responsibility to report in these circumstances be placed upon the officers authorised under the Education Act 2004 to inspect home schooling arrangements, removing the current mandatory responsibility on the persons provided with registration for home education, namely, the parents.

The second amendment proposed in the bill concerns the provision of annual review reports for children and young people on reviewable care and protection orders. An annual review report is prepared by the chief executive and informs the court and other relevant parties, including the child and young person’s parents and carers and the Public Advocate, about the circumstances and living arrangements for the child or the young person and whether the chief executive has considered that existing arrangements continue to be in the best interest of the child or young person.

Clarity regarding the time when the annual review reports are due is provided through this amendment, that is, within a year of the order being made. This would enable the Public Advocate to have a clear picture of the chief executive’s compliance with this statutory requirement.

The third amendment proposed refers to section 866 of the act regarding the provision of sensitive information to parties to a court proceeding, information which may include the identity of a reporter. This section of the act enables the court to request information through direct evidence or subpoena. This information may include sensitive information. The act currently requires the court to consider, when sensitive information has been provided in documents, that the information is materially relevant to the proceedings and that the best interest of the child or the young person are protected before releasing any information to the parties to the court proceedings.

The bill proposes that the same requirement apply to information required by the court to be provided through direct evidence. Such amendment provides consistency in the application of the act and continues to protect the identity of the reporters and the best interest of the child and young person.

The last amendment proposed in the bill refers to the decision making undertaken by people with daily care responsibilities for a child and young person under the act. In the majority of instances, these people will be kinship or foster carers and residential carers. Under section 19 of the act, the carers may receive information and advice

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