Responding to the final report of the South Australian Child Protection Systems Royal Commission was the focus of an AnglicareSA oration and Flinders University research to practice seminar.
AnglicareSA CEO Peter Sandeman, who presented the oration, said his speech focused on some of the key areas of Justice Nyland’s report including prevention and early intervention, continuation of care, permanency planning and post care support.
“The Nyland report tells us what we have all known for some time – the system has been operating in crisis and the resulting 260 recommendations highlights the amount of work required to fix it,” Peter said.
“We know from the work of Professor John Lynch of Adelaide University that one in four South Australian children are the subject of a notification to Families SA. We need to work together to create a child safe South Australia, where all of our children can thrive.
“Justice Nyland points out that a range of early intervention/prevention strategies need to be developed so services are layered to meet the differing and diverse needs of families.
“We need to identify families in difficulty early because intensive support can better enable children to be safe within their biological families, and we also need to have swift, authoritative and effective assessments when it is unsafe for children to remain and when they cannot return.”
Peter said AnglicareSA is a strong advocate for permanency planning and greater rights for foster carers to will give foster children security and wellbeing and provide carers with greater input into decisions and better support.
“A strategy to avoid delay and drift in care and maximise the timely placement of children into a family for life, whether that be a return home or to live with another family, is a fundamental requirement of the new system,” Peter said.
“Foster care and kinship families are the lifeline of the out-of-home care sector, so we must be doing more in to respect, support and give parental rights to carers.”
Peter said he also used his speech to continue the push to support care leavers until the age of 25.
“The statistics for care leavers tell us that we are not doing enough to support their transition into adulthood and independence. We need to mirror what happens in the general community, where largely, we continue to support our children well into their early adult life,” he said.
According to Peter, it’s time for all sides of politics and the relevant sectors to work together and deliver change.
“Now is not the time to be playing politics with child protection. As a community we want the strongest, most supportive and effective system possible, but it is only achievable through a bi-partisan commitment that reaches beyond political and social agendas,” Peter said.
Following the oration, responses to the report were also be made by Associate Professor Lorna Hallahan who discussed the intersections of the report with current adoption issues and Associate Professor Damien Riggs who discussed carers’ concerns with the report.
The event was supported by AnglicareSA, Flinders University and the Australian Social Policy Association.
Click on the below link to read Peter’s speech: