The Liberal Government took to the election a commitment to, and acknowledgment of, the need for a major cultural shift in child protection.
The release of the Child Protection Australia 2012-13 report shows that under the former Labor-Green government the number of children under care orders continued to climb.
This is a damning report card on the child protection system under the Labor-Green government.
The statistics from 2012-13 indicate the need for a major cultural shift in child protection.
Under the Liberal Government’s child protection plan we are focusing on engaging with families earlier, thereby providing every chance for families to stay together and to keep their children safely at home.
We will shift the focus on child protection from the current after-the-fact protective services towards early preventive and supportive strategies.
Our plan includes:
• $300,000 to provide short-term preventative respite care, to enable intensive support to be provided to parents, while avoiding children being taken unnecessarily into the child protection system.
• $360,000 for a pre-placement process to provide immediate therapeutic and responsive care for children entering state care for the first time. This will reduce trauma for the child and ensure that placements are more stable and matched to the child’s needs while being less adversarial for parents.
• An ongoing commitment to family support services and the family support gateway.
• A new hand-up and person-centred approach to support disadvantaged families.
• Review of practice guidelines to provide clear and transparent information to parents.
• A $4.4 million investment into child health and youth health nurses in a proven early intervention model in schools.
• The introduction of a new team-based collaborative approach for child protection workers to improve consistency and to provide back-up for workers in decision-making.
• Ensuring the investigation and referral of alleged child abuse in cases where the notifications are from professionals including police, teachers and health professionals.
• Establishing an independent process to review child death and serious injury.