New child protection laws to be introduced to Parliament this week as the South Australia Government continues its overhaul of the child protection system. The new bill will replace the current Children’s Protection Act to help ensure the safety of children and young people and give a voice and better representation to children and young people under guardianship in decisions that will affect their lives.
“This Bill will help underpin the fundamental shift in the delivery of child protection services in South Australia and support the cultural changes needed that were highlighted by Margaret Nyland in her report”, stated John Rau, Minister for Child Protection Reform.
The move comes ahead of the appointment of South Australia’s first Commissioner for Children and Young People, which is expected in coming weeks. The government undertook an extensive consultation process to develop its response to the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission, and sought feedback from the non-government sector, service providers, peak bodies and community members with a strong involvement in the child protection system to inform its response.
The draft Bill was released for consultation in November 2016 with public comment closing late last month. In addition to strengthening the focus on child safety, the new Bill also recognises the importance of foster carers in supporting children who are at risk. It is expected that the rights of foster carers will be increased along with their involvement in the overall child Protection systems
The Child Protection Systems Royal Commission recommended nothing less than a complete overhaul of our child protection laws and this is what we are delivering.