NSW FaCS Where We Are Today

Posted: April 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

It has been over seven years since I began to find myself on an intense journey with the NSW Department of Community Services. In the beginning of that journey I had no idea that things would turn out how they did, none.

I thought the department helped people. I found out that for many of us they do not help our families, and the journey ends in a heart breaking and mind boggling experience, in the NSW Children’s Courts, with an agency that aims to portray many unsuspecting parents as unfit.

Often, these parents and grandparents, have gone to the department asking for assistance or for help for children in their own families who are in need of care and protection. Only to find that the answers they receive involve removal of the children they are attempting to help.

This means the gigantic foster care industry is involved and currently there is a changing attitude towards adoption, being the preferred arrangement, for what becomes known to most, as unwanted Australian children. For the most part this child protection industry involves Non Government Organisations or NGO’s and religious groups such as Anglicare and Catholicare, although a plethora of these services exists under the current arrangements with the state and federal governments in Australia.

Not much information exists in the mainstream media or the community about parents who are involved in the system, a community of like minded people affected by the departments operating state wide has evolved in an attempt to tell their stories and to understand who is who within the various state and federal government corporate agencies. There is no main frame or streamline for child protection in Australia, and a range of current laws exists under the “Best Interests of the Child” for child acquisitions.

In Australia, state and territory governments are responsible for the administration and operation of child protection services. Legislative Acts in each state and territory govern the way such services are provided. The principal child protection Acts in each Australian state and territory are listed in Table 1. The table also outlines other Acts of Parliament pertinent to the operation and delivery of various services to children and families across Australia.

Table 1. Child protection legislation in Australian states and territories
Jurisdiction Principal Act Other relevant Acts/Legislation
Australian Capital Territory (link is external) Children and Young People Act 2008 (ACT) Adoption Act 1993 (ACT)

Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT)

Human Rights Commission Act 2005 (ACT)

Public Advocate Act 2005 (ACT)

Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)

New South Wales (link is external) Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW) Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Amendment (Parental Responsibility Contracts) Act 2006 (NSW)

Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act 2000 (NSW)

Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)

Commission for Children and Young People Act 1998 (NSW)

The Ombudsman Act 1974 (NSW)

Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)

Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Amendment Bill 2009

Northern Territory (link is external) Care and Protection of Children Act 2007 (NT) Information Act 2006 (NT)

Disability Services Act 2004 (NT)

Criminal Code Act 2006 (NT)

Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)

Queensland (link is external) Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld) Child Protection Reform Amendment Act 2014 (Qld)

Public Guardian Act 2014 (Qld)

Family Child and Commission Act 2014 (Qld)

Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 (Qld)

Public Health Act 2005 (Qld)

Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000 (Qld)

Adoption of Children Act 1964 (Qld)

Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)

South Australia (link is external) Children’s Protection Act 1993 (SA) Young Offenders Act 1994 (SA)

Adoption Act 1988 (SA)

Children’s Protection Regulations 2006 (SA)

Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)

Family and Community Services Act 1972 (SA)

Tasmania (link is external) Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1997 (Tas.) The Family Violence Act 2004 (Tas.)

Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)

Children, Young Persons and their Families Amendment Act 2009 (Tas.)

Victoria (link is external) Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic.) Working with Children Act 2005 (Vic.)

Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 (Vic.)

The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic.)

Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)

The Commission for Children and Young People Act 2012

Western Australia (link is external) Children and Community Services Act 2004 (WA) Working with Children (Criminal Record Checking) Act 2004 (WA)

Family Court Act 1997 (WA)

Adoption Act 1994 (WA)

Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)

Child Care Services Act 2007

Additionally, as the following link shows it is extremely easy for the general public to anonymously report parents or a family group, if someone feels that there is something wrong in a family.

For information on the state or territory agency responsible for child protection see Reporting Abuse and Neglect: State and Territory Departments Responsible for rotecting Children
This also opens an area up for great debate, about vindictive ex partners, sibling group issues, nosey neighbours, and infringement on the privacy rights within a family. The list of reasons why people come to the attention of the department is endless, and it becomes easy to come to the conclusion, that a preordained judgement begins with the anonymous report to the department.

Defending yourself as a parent is a difficult to navigate and extremely emotional journey, that is misunderstood by the community and court system. Unlike the criminal courts, there is a presumption that you are guilty until proving yourself innocent, often of the most ridiculous and fictitious claims being made against you, such as, your child being “at risk of future emotional harm” from you. Or having to defend yourself for seeking psychological help for issues such as your own childhood sexual abuse, these things are regularly being brought up by caseworkers who have violated rights to privacy to make a case against parents in the courts right around Australia.

Many people are unable to defend themselves, often the most vulnerable, yet innocent people, within our society are targeted for child removals. In simplicity the various departments use affidavits created by caseworkers, rather than solicitors, and these are used in the courts. Parents often complain, that state legal aid agencies refuse to help them or work against them. Which leads to increasing dilemma if you have neither the mental or emotional capacity to argue your own case in the courts. At times, the department will engage a guardian ad litem against a parent who refuses to cooperate with processes, or who is overly emotional at their child being removed from their care and protection. It is a legal nightmare for the parents who find themselves in the situation where the department fails to “work with the family”.

For Help When Dealing With The Department In Your State Or Territory Contact

lukesarmy.com

or

alecomm.com

You will find the following departmental agencies are not mindful of parental or family needs. However, it is important to know your situation inside and out when dealing with them. The name of the department in your state or territory, and the those involved in your case from the minister to the director general, the secretary, and on down the chain of command. The human services divisions are in a general sense, failing our communities as we see children in care, case after case, of murders, child rapes and sexual exploitation, teenage pregnancy in care, and a progression into the juvenile justice system for many of these “unwanted” kids in “care”. Senate Enquiries and Royal Commissions, seem to have done little to forward the progression of the child protective services or to encapsulate the views of parents of loss, the view seems to still be to remove the child and accuse the parent. Afterwards, sitting back and seemingly saying that nothing can be done to improve services, or change operational procedures. Again, there is no national framework in place to protect children or parents from child protection agencies in Australia, and legal representation is few and far between, let alone, fair and just when it comes to defending yourself against false accusations or defamation by the department of community services, and their counterparts around the country.

Contact details for each state and territory

“Please note that you do not need to be absolutely certain that abuse or neglect of a child has occurred to call these authorities. If you suspect a child is at risk of harm, you may call the authority to discuss your concerns and they will decide whether an investigation is required”.

I find that the above paragraph is appalling, however note that it is recognised in the literature that people do ring the authorities for reasons found to be trivial and of no importance. However for a parent dealing with them, these trivial reports add to the information held against you, if the department decides to build a case against you.

 

Australian Capital Territory
Reporting authority Further services / information Contact details
Office for Children, Youth and Family Support (link is external)

Ph: 13 22 81

Child and Youth Protection Services  (link is external)is responsible for facilitating coordination across government for the care and protection of children and young people.

If you are concerned about a child and want further information on mandatory reporting, refer to Keeping Children and Young People Safe (PDF 2.1 MB) (link is external)

Mandated reporters
Ph: 1300 556 728
Email: Child Protection Reports (link sends e-mail)

General public
Ph: 1300 556 729

New South Wales
Reporting authority Further services / information Contact details
Department of Family and Community Services (link is external)

Ph: (02) 9716 2222

By law, Community Services must assess reports where a child or young person is or may be at risk of significant harm from abuse or neglect. Information about the process of reporting child welfare concerns in NSW can be found on the department’s Reporting Suspected Abuse or Neglect (link is external) website.

Resources for mandatory reporters (link is external)

Child Protection Helpline
Ph: 13 21 11 (TTY 1800 212 936)

Non-imminent reports can also be made using eReporting (link is external)

For urgent reports, mandatory reporters should phone 13 36 27

Northern Territory
Reporting authority Further services / information Contact details
Department of Children and Families (link is external)

Ph: (08) 8999 2737

In the Northern Territory every person is required to report suspected child abuse and neglect. Information specific to health practitioners can be found in Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect: Information for Professionals (PDF 689 KB) (link is external)

For further information about the process of reporting concerns about a child’s welfare in the NT refer to the Child Abuse page (link is external) of the department’s website.

Child Protection Hotline
Ph: 1800 700 250 (24 hours)
Queensland
Reporting authority Further services / information Contact details
Department of Communities Child Safety and Disability Services (link is external)

Ph: (07) 3224 8045

Child Safety Services is the lead child protection agency in QLD. For information about the process of reporting concerns about a child’s welfare in QLD refer to the Reporting Child Abuse (link is external) page of the department’s website.

Who are mandatory reporters in QLD? (link is external)

For a list of contact numbers during business hours, go to: Regional Intake Services (link is external)

To locate your nearest Child Safety Service Centre, Ph: 1800 811 810

Child Safety After Hours Service Centre
Ph: 1800 177 135

South Australia
Reporting authority Further services / information Contact details
Department for Education and Child Development (link is external)

Ph: (08) 8124 4185

The primary area of concern for Families SA is the protection of children. For information about SA mandatory reporting requirements and the process of reporting concerns about a child’s welfare, refer to the department’s Protecting Children (link is external) webpage. Child Abuse Report Line
Ph: 13 14 78

After hours crisis care
Ph: 13 16 11

Report child abuse online (link is external)
See: New users instructions to register and prepare to use the system  (PDF 274 KB)
(link is external)

Tasmania
Reporting authority Further services / information Contact details
Department of Health and Human Services (link is external)

Ph: 1300 135 513

The role of Child Protection Services is to protect children and young people who are at risk of abuse or neglect.

For information about the process of reporting concerns about a child’s welfare in TAS refer to the department’s Child Protection Services (link is external) webpage.

Information about mandatory reporting can be found in the department’s information sheet: Responsibilities of Mandatory Reporters (PDF 89 KB) (link is external)

24 hour contact number: 1300 737 639

Report child abuse online (link is external)

Victoria
Reporting authority Further services / information Contact details
Department of Human Services (link is external) The Child Protection Service is specifically targeted to those children and young people at risk of significant harm.

For information about child protection and mandatory reporting requirements in Victoria, refer to the department’s Child Protection (link is external) webpage.

Child Protection Crisis Line (urgent concerns)
Ph: 13 12 78

For a list of regional and metropolitan phone numbers, go to: Child Protection Contacts (link is external)

Western Australia
Reporting authority Further services / information Contact details
Department for Child Protection and Family Support (link is external)

Ph: (08) 9222 2555

TTY: (08) 9325 1232

The Department for Child Protection and Family Support offers a range of services to support children and families.

For further information about the process of reporting concerns about a child’s welfare refer to the department’s If You are Concerned about a Child (link is external) webpage.

Who are mandatory reporters in WA? (link is external)

Ph: (08) 9222 2555 or
Country Freecall: 1800 622 258

After hours:
Ph: (08) 9223 1111 or
Country Freecall: 1800 199 008

If you are a mandatory reporter
Ph: 1800 708 704

Lodge a written mandatory report online using the department’s secure Mandatory Reporting Web System (link is external) or download and complete a Mandatory Reporting Form (PDF 237

NSW FaCS Minister Brad Hazzard

Brad Hazzard is the current Minister for the Department of Family and Community Services, under the Liberal Leadership of NSW

Brad Hazzard is the current Minister for the Department of Family and Community Services, under the Liberal Leadership of NSW

Brad Hazzard was the former NSW Attorney General. Bradley “Brad” Ronald Hazzard MP (born 30 August 1951), an Australian politician, is the New South Wales Minister for Family and Community Services and the Minister for Social Housing since April 2015 in the second Baird government Hazzard is a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly representing Wakehurst for the Liberal Party since 1991. Hazzard previously served as the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure and the Minister Assisting the Premier on Infrastructure NSW in the O’Farrell government between 2011 and 2014; and as the Attorney General of New South Wales and the New South Wales Minister for Justice between 2014 and 2015 in the first Baird ministry.

Hazzard was educated at Manly Boys’ High School (now Manly Selective Campus), Macquarie University where he gained a Bachelor of Arts (Science) and a Diploma of Education, the University of New South Wales where he graduated Bachelor of Laws, and the University of Sydney where he graduated Master of Laws. Hazzard was then employed as a science teacher (1974-1977) before being admitted as a Solicitor in 1977. He was a partner in a Manly law firm from 1981 to 1996.

In 1983, Hazzard joined the Liberal Party and quickly rose through the ranks, becoming regional president and a member of the state executive from 1985 to 1986. Hazzard was pre-selected as Liberal Party candidate for Wakehurst in April 1991, ahead of the sitting Liberal Party member John Booth. He was elected to NSW Legislative Assembly in 1991 and sat in the backbench during the Greiner and Fahey governments.

Hazzard played a role in the ‘Metherell affair‘, involving the neighbouring Member for Davidson, Terry Metherell, who upon his resignation from the Liberal Party had expressed to Hazzard his interest in one of the Directorships at the new Environmental Protection Authority. Hazzard discussed this with Premier Greiner and the Minister for the Environment, Tim Moore, at Greiner’s residence in February 1992. Greiner and Hazzard then discussed the matter with Metherell while in Parliament ten days later. The government subsequently created the job for Metherell, which he accepted, effectively engineering a vacancy in a seat that the Liberal Party would recover at a by-election. At the May 1992 by-election the Labor Party did not nominate a candidate, and a field of Independents and minor parties reduced the Liberal vote by 16 points (14 points after preferences), nevertheless won by Liberal candidate Andrew Humpherson.

After the Labor party won the 1995 election, Hazzard was appointed to the Opposition frontbench and held various shadow portfolios. Under Opposition Leader Peter Collins, Hazzard was Shadow Minister for Corrective and Emergency Services (1995–96), Environment (1996-1997), Aboriginal Affairs (1996-2007), and Sport and Recreation (1997–99) Under Kerry Chikarovski he was Shadow Minister for Housing (1999-2000), Corrective Services (1999-2000), Disability Services and Ageing (2000–03), and Community Services (2000–03). Under John Brogden he was Shadow Minister for Energy and Utilities (2003–05), Science and Medical Research (2003–05), Youth (2005), and Community Services (2005).

Under Peter Debnam and Barry O’Farrell he was Shadow Minister for Education (2005–07) and was made Shadow Minister for Redfern Waterloo (2007–08). He was also appointed Shadow Minister for Planning (2008-11) and Shadow Minister for Infrastructure (2008-11). Between 2007 and 2011 Hazzard criticised the State Labor Government’s move to take planning powers away from Local government and handing them to government-appointed planning panels and their attitudes towards development of heritage areas.

In April 2011 Hazzard was appointed Minister for Planning and Infrastructure and Minister Assisting the Premier on Infrastructure NSW. He also served as Leader of the Legislative Assembly from April 2011 to April 2014.

Due to the resignation of Barry O’Farrell as Premier, and the subsequent ministerial reshuffle by Mike Baird, the new Liberal Leader, in April 2014 Hazzard was sworn in as the Attorney General and as the Minister for Justice; and lost the portfolio of Planning and Infrastructure. In April 2015, following the 2015 state election, Hazzard was sworn in as the Minister for Family and Community Services and the Minister for Social Housing in the second Baird ministry.

Hazzard has two adult sons

Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
John Booth
Member for Wakehurst
1991–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Tony Kelly
Minister for Planning and Infrastructure
2011–2014
Succeeded by
Pru Goward
as Minister for Planning
Preceded by
Greg Smith
Attorney General of New South Wales
2014–2015
Succeeded by
Gabrielle Upton
Minister for Justice
2014–2015
Succeeded by
Troy Grant
as Minister for Justice and Police
Succeeded by
David Elliott
as Minister for Corrections
Preceded by
Gabrielle Upton
Minister for Family and Community Services
2015–present
Incumbent
New title Minister for Social Housing
2015–present

 

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