NSW State Elections – What About Child Protection?

Posted: March 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

What Issues Are Important In Australian Society?

It seems that child protection is not an issue to Australian Society, it is never mentioned when elections are in full swing, and it is not something the public is interested in unless to say how terrible those parents must be. It is an unfortunate place where you find those willing to talk about child protection because the ones who are speaking out are often parents of loss.

Indeed it is one of the greatest nightmares for a parent to loose a child, if a child dies people have sympathy for the parents but if your child is removed into the foster care system we see an instant targeting of the person/persons who are responsible for the child.

The Child Protection Industry has maintained the ability to continue the practices of the past in this fashion, by remaining a secretive government agency with legal controls above the Federal Court System, and a jurisdiction within each state with overriding power and control of children’s lives.

We don’t hear much about the deaths in the Child Protection Industry nor about the suicides of parents and children. We do not hear about the abuse and molestation that occurs in the system, and when we do, it still seems like many people in our communities prefer to still hold parents accountable. Often a parent who speaks out is made to explain why the department of Child Protection, took their child in the first place, instead of gain any ground in speaking about what resulted after the child was removed.

These two examples show how government is not interested at examining the potential to use funding to maintain stable relationships within the family. They show blatant disregard that child protection matters are always individual circumstances and that often the child should never have been removed. If there is concern that a child is in danger in OOHC that in itself should override any other concern’s about parents otherwise we are not acting in “The Best Interests of the Child” at all.

It is definitive to say in my experience that the parents interests in their child is not of concern to any of the professionals who are participating in the actions of the departments around the country.

Tony Harrison CEO of the SA Department for Education and Child Development states that the only way to protect children is to put them in a detention-type facility and that they, I guess he means politicians would not have that these days.

Tony Harrison fears for the safety of children who are removed from parents and says the only way to protect children is to lock them up in detention type facilities.

Tony Harrison fears for the safety of children who are removed from parents and says the only way to protect children is to lock them up in detention type facilities.

I can only think that with so many asking ministers for help with Child Protection Industry issues, and with so many people reaching out to other people who have been involved with the Child Protection Industry in the past, any thinking person might understand that the actual behaviour of removing children from the home is an outdated practise that in all probability should end.

“What keeps me awake … is, irrespective of how robust your system is, it still takes a degree of luck to keep these people alive,” Tony Harrison, chief executive of the South Australian Department for Education and Child Development, told the commission. “What keeps me awake at night-time is, I guess, the dreaded telephone call that a child has left a facility (and) has taken their own life.”

The only way to completely prevent this taking place, Mr Harrison said, would involve institutionalising young children in a detention-type facility, which we wouldn’t support.”


Simone Jackson, acting head of the Northern Territory Out-of-Home Care Division said she had worked in two jurisdictions where staff levels were down by 40 per cent.

“If people aren’t there for long enough, you can’t build a relationship that is meaningful (with a child). We have to reverse it to the point that people … have an opportunity to reinvest in the relationship component, not being stuck with the admin component,” she said.

Simone Jackson NT Department Of Families

Simone Jackson NT Department of Communities and Families worries about funding for her employees, the employees having relationships with removed children and the administration of child removals.

Simone Jackson talks about the increase of child abuse reporting in the Northern Territory and the issues as to why child abuse has increased.

There has been an almost 30 per cent jump in the annual number of child protection reports in the Northern Territory, a royal commission in Darwin has heard.

The large increase in the number of allegations of child abuse in the jurisdiction has shocked local authorities, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was told.

In 2013/14, 12,940 child protection reports were received – an increase of 29.7 per cent on the previous year. Of that number, there were 4,906 child protection investigations.

Simone Jackson, the executive director of the Out of Home Care Division at the NT Department of Children and Families, said she thought the jump was a mixture of better ability for children to report, and a real increase in child abuse.

“We are all shocked and trying to work with that increase in volume,” Ms Jackson told the royal commission.

I think we are watching lots of different things to see if we can understand better what this is about.

Simone Jackson, NT Department of Children and Families

“It is sad to say we have lots of parents who are unable to provide the minimum care requirements for the young people.

“I think we are watching lots of different things to see if we can understand better what this is about.”

Under questioning from John Lawrence SC, Ms Jackson said she did not think the rise was linked to a change in the NT government’s approach to problem drinking since the Country Liberal Party took office.

Earlier Ms Jackson told the hearing there was supposed to be regular training for people who worked as carers in the NT, but training did not include information about protective behaviours in regards to child sexual assault.

She said there was only a little bit of training about how carers should identify indications of child sex assault.

Ms Jackson said about 85 per cent of children in care in the NT are Aboriginal children.

Last week the royal commission focused on the Retta Dixon home that operated in Darwin between 1946 and 1980.

The home, which housed mainly Aboriginal children, was allegedly the scene of numerous physical and sexual assaults of children.

There was testimony from one person who claimed he was abused as a child. He said he was not able to privately speak with social workers at the time about what was happening to him.

Ms Jackson said presently children in care were supposed to have private meetings with case workers each month, although the widely dispersed nature of some communities in the NT means that was “very difficult to achieve”.

Meanwhile, there was no decision announced during the royal commission’s morning session about whether sitting NT magistrate Michael Carey would give evidence in person.

Last week the commission was told a memo written by Mr Carey had been pivotal in seeing charges dropped against convicted sex offender Don Henderson.

Chair of the commission, Justice Peter McClellan, said he wanted the magistrate to appear.

The hearing continues, with NT Children’s Commissioner Howard Bath due to testify and Professor Muriel Bamblett from La Trobe University in Melbourne also expected to give evidence.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-29/royal-commission-hears-of-jump-in-child-abuse-allegations-in-nt/5776482


Our Vulnerable Children, In Care And Their Parents In Mourning.

THOUSANDS of reports that some of Australia’s most vulnerable children have been sexually abused were received by authorities nationwide during the past two years alone, a royal commission has heard.

With more than 50,000 children in foster or other out-of-home care nationwide, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse today heard there is no accurate data about how many are suffering abuse or neglect.

Figures on the levels of abuse are patchy, difficult to compare or unavailable, meaning “that comparison between states and territories, and a national overall count, is impossible,” counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness SC, said.

Reliable data on the support provided to child victims is also widely unavailable, while “there is very limited, rigorous evidence available about the effectiveness of practices or programs that prevent child sexual abuse,” she said.

The commission has received evidence of over 3600 reports that children in care were abused within the past two financial years, Ms Furness said, the great majority of which were received by the state and territory governments who are responsibility for these children themselves.

Even these figures are uncertain, Ms Furness said, with some reports potentially duplicating each other while others may relate to historical abuse that took place years earlier. Some state and territory governments were unable to provide sufficient information, while not all of the non-governmental organisations looking after children in care were surveyed, she said.

Children in care, many of whom have been taken from their parents or whose parents were unable to look after them, are among the most vulnerable in Australia. There are 51.4 indigenous children in care for every 1000 children in the general population, nine times the rate of non-indigenous children.

The commission has spoken privately to over 3000 child victims of sexual abuse to date, with more of these saying they were abused in care than in any other institution. In the Northern Territory, there have been 89 reports of children abusing other children in residential care facilities within the past six months alone, the commission heard.

“The number of children who cannot live safely at home is increasing (and) children coming into care are younger and staying in care younger,” Ms Furness said.

Gail Furness QC RC Abuse Inquiry Concerned About Children In Care

Gail Furness QC RC Abuse Inquiry Concerned About Children In Care

The commission also heard evidence given by one former child victim who was placed in the care of a foster father who had previously been charged with child sexual abuse offences.

When she was about seven years old, her foster father “asked her to come into his bedroom and lie down next to him on the bed. He put his hands down her pants.

“At other times, he came into the bathroom … he touched himself and made noises which at the time (the victim) didn’t understand. But she now knows he was masturbating,” Ms Furness said.

The victim could only remember being visited once by a caseworker during her five years in the foster family’s home, she said.

The Australian, March 10, 2015


Kept Awake At Night Worrying About Your Child, Well So Are Those Who Take Them!

SENIOR government officials from across Australia have told a royal commission they are kept awake at night worrying about their ability to protect children in their care. 

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard this morning that some states and territories do not train staff to recognise potentially predatory behaviour among those working with children in care. Others do not require formal qualifications for staff working with the non-governmental organisations that are increasingly responsible for looking after children in care, the commission heard.

There are roughly 50,000 children in foster or other out-of-home care across Australia, the commission heard, many of whom are significantly disadvantaged and often have intellectual or physical disabilities.

Around 3,600 reports that these children had been sexually abused were received by authorities nationwide over the past two years.

“What keeps me awake … is, irrespective of how robust your system is, it still takes a degree of luck to keep these people alive,” Tony Harrison, chief executive of the South Australian Department for Education and Child Development, told the commission. “What keeps me awake at night-time is, I guess, the dreaded telephone call that a child has left a facility (and) has taken their own life.”

The only way to completely prevent this taking place, Mr Harrison said, would involve institutionalising young children in a detention-type facility, which we wouldn’t support.”

Other senior state government officials told the commission that their departments have suffered staff deficits of up to 40 per cent, while the weight of paperwork actually prevented staff from physically meeting those in their care.

“What keeps me awake at night is what we’re not seeing,” Tony Kemp, the Tasmanian Deputy Secretary for Children and Youth Services, told the commission.

“And one of the reasons is not that people would prefer to be sitting behind desks and prefer to be filling out forms … but we have an over-engineered system … in trying to seek to be compliant with all of the instructions and requirements and procedures and policies.

“The voices of the child in that space are loud and clear … but we have created an architecture which I believe prevents workers from engaging in that in a purposeful and meaningful way,” he said.

Simone Jackson, acting head of the Northern Territory Out-of-Home Care Division said she had worked in two jurisdictions where staff levels were down by 40 per cent.

“If people aren’t there for long enough, you can’t build a relationship that is meaningful (with a child). We have to reverse it to the point that people … have an opportunity to reinvest in the relationship component, not being stuck with the admin component,” she said.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/in-depth/it-takes-luck-to-keep-our-children-in-care-alive/story-fngburq5-1227258429570

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