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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 17 August 2017) . . Page.. 2886 ..

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the ministerial statement.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Child placement and care plans

Ministerial statement

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Disability, Children and Youth, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations) (11.05): Just like every other child protection system in Australia, the ACT child protection system has been the subject of regular reviews. It is a system that is continually under scrutiny, not just by the Assembly but broadly across the ACT community. This scrutiny is necessary and appropriate because we are talking about the safety and protection of Canberra’s children and young people.

One such review was the review into the system-level responses to family violence in the ACT, known as the Glanfield inquiry, which was released in April 2016. I rise today to report back to the Assembly on progress made in implementing the Glanfield inquiry’s six recommendations that relate to decision-making, quality assurance and oversight in the child protection system. It is important to note that the implementation of these recommendations is occurring in the broader context of significant reforms to child and youth protection services under A step up for our kids. Launched in January 2015, A step up for our kids is a five-year strategy to reform out of home care and improve outcomes for children and young people in care.

A step up represents a significant change to the way we think about and support out of home care. It is intended to transform outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and their families who have contact with the child protection and out of home care systems. Fundamentally, A step up aims to recast the out of home care system as a therapeutic, trauma-informed system of care. The strategy focuses on early intervention to prevent, where possible, children entering care. If a child or young person does enter care and cannot be restored to their birth family, the focus is on achieving stability and security in a safe and loving home.

Decisions made about the protection of children and young people do not, nor should they, rest solely on the shoulders of our child protection workforce. Child protection workers and teams seek at all times to make decisions with the best interests of children and young people paramount. However, ultimately it is the Children’s Court that decides, based on the evidence before it, whether children are returned to their families or remain in care.

It is also important to understand that, right from the start of a family’s engagement with the child protection system, decision-making about children and young people most often occurs within declared care teams. Care teams are established to ensure

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