Page 1854 - Week 06 - Thursday, 30 July 2020

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Ms Stephen-Smith: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

1. In making a Care and Protection Order, under the Children and Young People’s Act 2008, the Childrens Court will either stipulate the specifics of contact arrangements through a ‘specific contact provision’ or order that contact arrangements be determined by a stated person. When contact is determined by the Childrens Court through a ‘specific contact provision’ any changes to contact must be agreed by the Childrens Court. This requires an application to the Court to amend the child’s Care and Protection Order.

2. In most matters heard by the Childrens Court, the stated person who can determine contact arrangements is the Director-General of the Community Services Directorate. If contact arrangements have been ordered by the Childrens Court in this way, arrangements can be changed without the involvement of the Childrens Court.

Changes to contact are considered by the child’s Care Team and in consultation with relevant people such as family members, carers and other professionals involved with the child and their family. These changes are then recorded in the child’s Care Plan and distributed to the relevant people.

Should an affected person not agree with changes to contact arrangements they can seek to have them changed by negotiating to achieve a different outcome, or alternatively make an application to the Childrens Court seeking that the Care and Protection Order be amended to include a specific contact provision.

3. Contact arrangements are complex and emotional situations for those involved, particularly children who have usually experienced significant trauma. CYPS has advised that it seeks to work in partnership with those who have an interest in the contact arrangements whilst ensuring that the best interests of children and young people are paramount. It is important to identify risks, consider where the contact will occur, the need for supervision and whether the child feels safe. Consideration is also given to potential emotional distress and further trauma impact for a child having contact with a parent.

4. See response to Questions 1, 2 and 3. For many children and young people who are in the out of home care it can be the case that contact with birth parents is a source of trauma and distress for them. In these circumstances, contact arrangements are, quite properly, reviewed and discussed in Care Team meetings with the best interests of children and young people at the forefront of all those considerations.

(Question No 3062)

Mrs Kikkert asked the Minister for City Services, upon notice, on 19 June 2020 (redirected to the Minister for Planning and Land Management):

(1) Is the land that will be developed as Lawson North by Defence Housing Australia a national land site under the oversight of the National Capital Authority; if so, does the ACT Government have any role of oversight, influence or approval in relation to the development of Lawson North and what specific roles does the ACT Government exercise.

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