Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 7 May 2015) . . Page.. 1480 ..

The royal commission, Public Advocate and Auditor-General all recommend an oversight framework. This framework for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in a child protection system is best implemented as a regulatory framework. In the ACT this approach has been given in-principle agreement by the organisations that will be regulated and they have agreed to continue to be involved in the development of the new system.

On 22 January this year the Chief Minister and I announced the strategy a step up for our kids. The strategy is founded on three core domains: strengthening high risk families, creating a continuum of care, and strengthening accountability and ensuring a high functioning care system. The introduction of an accreditation and monitoring system is a key strategy in strengthening accountability and ensuring a high functioning care system domain.

The bill provides the necessary authority to implement a framework to achieve that accreditation and monitoring through regulatory oversight. It includes the authority to monitor community organisations, to ensure they are accountable and to support them to be part of a high functioning care system that achieves great outcomes for our children, young people and their families.

The bill builds on existing sections of the Children and Young People Act 2008 that require certain people and organisations to be approved as suitable entities by the responsible director-general for specific functions. Examples of people or organisations included under this provision are family group conference facilitators, kinship carers, foster carers, a foster care service and residential care services.

This bill expands the range of community organisations that must be approved as being suitable to be a care and protection organisation. This term is inclusive of organisations which provide foster care and residential care services but also includes organisations which provide family preservation and reunification services, contact services, parent-child interaction services, and advocacy support services for birth families and carers.

These are all organisations that will provide services to children, young people, their families and carers through the strategy a step up for our kids. Consistent with the regulation of childcare centres in the ACT, this bill introduces the requirement for a care and protection organisation to nominate at least one person to be responsible for the provision of services in the ACT. The responsible person must also be assessed for their suitability by the territory. This change provides an additional safeguard both for vulnerable children and young people and for the territory.

The amendments to this bill will provide the territory with the authority for a range of actions to monitor the suitability of an approved organisation on an ongoing basis and to be proactively engaging with the organisation when there are indicators of emerging risk. The bill describes the processes for receiving, investigating and finalising complaints against approved organisations and it provides the territory with authority for graduated intervention powers when significant risks are identified.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video