Anglicare SA

Child protection recommendations must be prioritised, delivered

AnglicareSA has welcomed the release of the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission report which it believes outlines a comprehensive and sensible approach to fixing the state’s child protection system.

AnglicareSA CEO Peter Sandeman said the recommendations reflect the significant changes required to both current legislation and administration.

“What underpins the success of these recommendations in the report is the roadmap outlined in recommendation 260, which ultimately holds the State Government to account on implementing the changes,” Peter said.

“The child protection system in South Australia has a critical role in promoting and ensuring the safety of children in a way that appropriately reflects the values and diversity of the broader community.

“This system did not come close to meeting these expectations on many occasions and the only way to improve it is to deliver on the report’s recommendations.

“The report is the first step towards creating change, but we have a significant amount of work ahead of us to fix a system that has let down our most vulnerable at a time when they needed it most.”

Peter said the report’s recommendations, by Commissioner Margaret Nyland, are based on the expert and experienced views of children and young people, foster carers and people who work in the system, together with people with international expertise. Consideration must be given to all 260 recommendations and this process must start immediately.

“We are encouraged that the government has committed to starting work on fixing the system immediately through their promised $200 million invest over the next four years,” Peter said.

“We are particularly pleased the government is committed to working in partnership with children and young people, foster carers and other key stakeholders in the non-government sector.

Some of the key recommendations supported by AnglicareSA in the report include:

  • Amendments to the Child Protection Act to give the child a voice and allows for the sensible and timely decision around long-term orders
  • A greater emphasis on prevention and early intervention
  • That adoption be considered in the best interest of the child
  • Allowing foster carers to be involved in decision making and giving them a stronger voice
  • The provision of assistance to care leavers between 18-25, including payments to foster carers where it’s in the best interests for the child to remain in foster care
  • Using commercial care only in genuine emergency situations
  • Introduction of a children’s court clinic

“AnglicareSA’s vision for this system is that each contributor can collaboratively and actively support child centered and connected service models that enable children, no matter their experiences, to flourish and enjoy fullness of life,” Peter said.

“Sustained and effective change is only achievable through a truly collaborative and integrated response, involving communities, departments, families and the non-government sector.

“Protecting and ensuring the best interests of the children in this state, particularly those most vulnerable and their families, remains the duty and privilege of government and non-government organisations alike, and that progress will not be achieved without the whole sector working together to a common goal,” Peter said.

AnglicareSA look forward to continuing to work with the State Government and other key stakeholders to implement recommendations of the Royal Commission.