In preparation for the Government’s response to The life they deserve, Child Protection Systems Royal Commission Report, the Office regularly released concise summaries of issues and recommendations on major themes identified as priorities for children and young people in care. Immediately prior to the Government’s response, the Office released a consolidated Child protection reform checklist.
We continue to receive applications from agencies – government, non-government and private – to endorse the revised Charter of Rights for Children and Young People in Care. To date, 73 agencies have endorsed the revised Charter, and an additional six have commenced the endorsement process. There are now 410 Charter Champions.
The Office submitted a comprehensive response to the Children and Young People (Oversight and Advocacy Bodies) Bill 2015 and worked in collaboration with a number of agencies to successfully effect changes prior to it becoming legislation. The Office also submitted a response to the draft Children and Young People (Safety) Bill 2016 that is intended to replace the Children’s Protection Act 1993.
The Office’s report The circumstances of children and young people in care, a report on the 2015-2016 Audit of Annual Reviews was released. This provides some factual balance to the reported stories of crises in child protection and out of home care. It is written from the ‘auditor’s’ point of view and includes the participation of children, placement stability, allocation to caseworker and use of Individual Education Plans
In the second half of 2016, the Office received 122 requests for intervention about children under guardianship, involving 166 children. The Senior Advocate audited 31 annual reviews and the Advocates made 10 official visits to residential or youth justice units. The Office’s ability to undertake more audits of annual reviews and monitoring visits was reduced by the continuing demand in and protraction of complex individual advocacy.
The GCYP welcomed the return of Kendall Crowe to the staff team as a Senior Policy Officer and commenced recruitment for a new position, Assessment and Referral Officer, and a temporary vacancy for the role of Senior Advocate.
In February we farewelled Tony Minniecon who returned to Child and Youth Mental Health Service. Our warm thanks to Tony for his great contribution to the life and work of the Office.
This article also appears in the February 2017 edition of the Guardian’s Newsletter.