1 June 2017
Following the Guardian’s submissions in January and February regarding the Children and Young People (Safety) Bill, the Guardian gave evidence in April to the Legislative Council Select Committee on Statutory Child Protection and Care in South Australia about the Bill.
The Office submitted responses to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) organisational restructure and the Commonwealth Government’s Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for people with psychosocial disabilities related to a mental health condition.
The Office published an analysis of the Expenditure on child protection in South Australia 2015-2016, the Snapshot of South Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People in Care and/or Youth Detention from the Report on Government Services 2017 and prepared a report on Children and Young People in State Care in South Australian Government Schools 2008-2016.
The preliminary work to establish the operations of the Training Centre Visitor, as per the Youth Justice Administration Act 2016 commenced in May. The Office also started work on an education program about their rights for children and young people in residential and emergency care and preparations to trial a community visitor program, both recommendations from the Nyland Royal Commission.
The Guardian welcomed South Australia’s inaugural Commissioner for Children and Young People, Helen Connolly, in April and with the Senior Policy Officer, attended the Australian Children’s Commissioners and Guardians meeting in Hobart in May.
The Office continues 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, 79 agencies have endorsed the revised Charter, and an additional three have commenced the endorsement process. There are now 418 Charter Champions.
In the first quarter of 2017, the Office received 45 requests for intervention about children and young people under guardianship, involving at least 72 children. The Senior Advocate audited 29 annual reviews and the Advocates made 12 official visits to residential care houses or youth justice facilities.
The Office welcomed the addition of Kate Cameron as Senior Advocate, Sarah-Jayne Meakin as Assessment and Referral Officer, Conrad Morris as Advocate – Aboriginal Children, Zoë Dalton as Advocate and Rasha Dietrich as Senior Project Officer. We fare-welled Belinda Lorek (Advocate), who was seconded to the Equal Opportunity Commission, Michelle Hopkins (Advocate), who commenced working in family law and Kendall Crowe (Senior Policy Officer) who moved to the Department for Child Protection.