I am pleased to hear the Government’s commitment to creating the new Department for Child Protection and I look forward to the Guardian’s Office developing a strong relationship with the new Chief Executive and leadership team.
I welcome Commissioner Nyland’s recommendation that the new Department for Child Protection ‘must be headed by a Chief Executive with established credibility in child protection work…’The new department will be a solid base from which to work on Commissioner Nyland’s other recommendations which will be contained in her full report due for release early in August.
But creation of a new department will not be sufficient in itself.
The new department will immediately need to undertake long-term planning to ensure better placement options for children in care.
The quality and suitability of out-of-home care and the large numbers of children in emergency placements requires urgent attention.
Collaboration between and among government and non-government agencies will be needed to strengthen family support services to prevent children from coming into care where it is safe for them to remain with their families. Where that’s not possible, we will need to intervene early to protect children and make sure those who come into care do so in a timely and appropriate way.
The new department must ensure there are sufficient numbers of skilled child protection workers with access to regular supervision and support, professional development and information about the latest research promoting best practice.
In these areas and across the whole child protection system we must encourage and support the active voice of children themselves. If we listen, genuinely listen, children will tell us what is happening for them and what the reinvented system needs to provide.