The State Government will invest $432 million to deliver a new child protection system for South Australia and has tabled new child safety legislation in response to the Nyland Royal Commission.
Delivering its response to the Commission’s final report today in State Parliament, the Government confirmed that following significant consultation with the community sector it has accepted 196 of the recommendations, agreed in principle with a further 60 and chosen not to adopt four.
With one in four children in the State being the subject of a notification to authorities, Premier Jay Weatherill today emphasised that child protection must be everyone’s responsibility.
The historic reforms announced today will:
- create a new child protection system which is better targeted at prevention and early intervention
- establish a new Early Intervention Research Directorate to develop new strategies to better support vulnerable families and to ensure programs are effective, including a specific focus on Aboriginal children and families
- enhance efforts to place children with family members earlier through a new Family Scoping Unit, avoiding the need for use of residential and commercial care
- provide increased support and training opportunities for staff to help them deal with the many complex cases they encounter
- embed a greater role for the non-government and community sector in guiding and overseeing all reforms through the establishment of a Child Safety and Wellbeing Advisory Panel, with further details to be announced soon
- trial a new multi-agency Child Safety Pathway to address notification waiting times on the Child Abuse Report Line, linking families to the right supports
- improve the rights and experiences of family and foster carers, with supports to help them interact with governments, ensure their voices are better heard in court, and to support their day-to-day decision making
- ensure that Aboriginal families are involved in early decision making through Family Group Conferencing within the new child protection laws.
A new Children and Young People (Safety) Bill 2016 has been released today for comment, with consultation occurring over the summer months before Parliament resumes in 2017.
The Government will provide its next progress report on the implementation of the Royal Commission’s recommendations before 30 June next year, with further progress reports to be made annually.
The Government’s full response to the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission is available on the Department for Child Protection website.
The draft Children and Young People (Safety) Bill 2016 is available on the YourSAy website and is open for comment until Friday 27 January 2017.
Reporting child abuse
If you or a child is at immediate risk, contact SAPOL – 000 in emergency, or 131 444 for non-urgent police assistance.
To report a reasonable suspicion that a child is being abused or neglected, phone the Child Abuse Report Line- 131 478.
For information about mandatory reporting requirements visit the Legal Services Commission of South Australia.
Life line provide 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services- call 131 114. Lifeline also offers an online service ‘crisis support chat”.
Parents of children from 0-12 years of age can contact the Parent Helpline for telephone information and support at any time, 7 days a week- 1300 364 100 (local call cost within South Australia).
Access telephone counselling, 24/7 days per week - 1800RESPECT or 1800737732.
Children and young people aged 5-25 can talk to someone about anything that’s going on in their life. Kids Helpline has phone counselling 24/7 - 1800 55 1800.
For young people, contact Reach Out for counselling services.
For legal advice, contact the Law Society SA on 8229 0200 for referral to lawyers with expertise in this area.
Free legal advice is available through Legal Helpline on 1300 366 424, or make an appointment with the Legal Services Commission of South Australia