Good news and bad news in child protection

Following up previous accounts of the shortcomings of Australian child protection dealing with the systemic problems here and here and the particular situation in South Australia which was revealed in an inquiry last year.

Readers may recall that the central concern is the extreme unwillingness of child protection authorities to remove children from their natural parents to a safer place or to adoption even when they are suffering serious and persisting abuse in the family.

The bad news is from South Australia following the report last year. Given that the report only recommended more resources to do much the same things it is not surprising that The Fresh Start is just a new department and more people but no sign of a move in the direction of adoption.

1 November 2016. The new Department for Child Protection opens today signalling a fresh start for child protection in South Australia. The department was created in response to recommendations in the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission. “The life they deserve” that was presented to the state government in August this year.

While a lot of this work has been occurring behind the scenes over recent months to ensure staff, the agencies that support child protection and the whole community are involved in the process.

Work already underway across child protection includes the new Choose to Care campaign to encourage an increase in foster cares; strong relationship with non-government organisations and other key partners; innovative parenting programs; and as well as child well-being practitioners working with schools to continue to grow partnerships with the education sector.

And there is a Media Centre! “The Media and Digital unit, within the Media and Communications Directorate keeps the community engaged through the media with the latest news on initiatives, developments and events focusing on child protection.”

The message on adoption is that it will be expensive for prospective parents, time consuming, and there will not be many placements anyway.

The good news comes from New South Wales where it seems that the Sammut report has been read and digested with the result that there is a move in the US direction of increased adoption.

The overhaul aims to provide a loving, stable and permanent family for children who cannot live with their parents because they are at risk of harm.

Minister for Family and Community Services [FACS] Brad Hazzard said too many children were being moved through several foster homes until they reach adulthood.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Brad Hazzard toured the US and was highly impressed by the adoption model which dramatically reduced the number of children in care.

“In New York City, Illinois and Tennessee, they’ve brought their numbers [of children in care] down from more than 50,000 to less than 10,000 … 8,000 in some cases,” he said.

“The clearest message that children in care have given me is they want forever families.”

The NSW Government expects the plan would make it easier to adopt, with the number of children currently in care in the state at about 20,000 , with the figure expected to double in the next ten years.

This looks like a win for the good guys, Jeremy Sammut and the Adopt Change organization. More from The Daily Telegraph.

Adopt Change chief executive Renee Carter said about 30,000 of the 43,000 kids in out-of-home care across Australia had been there for more than two years.

Figures show children aged less than one are the most likely to need out-of-home care. Some of these kids will live in about 10 foster homes before they turn 18.

Ms Carter’s organisation — founded by actor Deborra-lee Furness, who has two adopted children with her husband Hugh Jackman — is calling for a “significant increase” in the number of kids in stable homes.

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12 Responses to Good news and bad news in child protection

  1. Roger

    The Minister for Family and Community Services, Brad Hazzard toured the US and was highly impressed by the adoption model which dramatically reduced the number of children in care.

    Good, but why did he have to go to the US to appreciate the value of such a common sense model?

  2. C.L.

    I’m not sure we want to adopt children out to South Australians.
    Best to send them interstate.

  3. Infidel Tiger

    Children and South Australians is usually the recipe for a front page headline.

  4. Roger

    Good, but why did he have to go to the US to appreciate the value of such a common sense model?

    This will take us off topic, but why are so many of our politicians bereft of initiative? Does the party system weed those who have initiative out? This is where the US presidential system of cabinet members being appointed from outside of party politics is superior to ours.

  5. Shy Ted

    Adopting a child of an alcoholic, smoking, drug-using, neglectful mother, absent and incarcerated criminal father is not for the faint-hearted. You can expect far more sorrow than you can joy.

  6. Rev. Archibald

    Ten times more commenters lining up to kick Lucius Queasious Arseholious in the nads on the other thread, than have anything to say about the disaster that is child protection in this country.
    If birth patents are so bad that children need to be handed from foster home to foster home after foster home, just adopt them out. Time to get over the stolen gen crap.

  7. Muddy

    My sister who is a teacher, and my brother-in-law who is a detective sergeant in the Queensland Police Service, waited 10 years to adopt a child through the Queensland system. What they had to go through was astounding and very much dependent on the whims of their case manager at the time. They would like to adopt another child, but have waited another five years so far, and are on the verge of being declared ‘too old’ (a touch over 40) despite both being financially stable and having done a great job raising their adopted son. To describe the system as a farce is a very polite understatement.

  8. Rafe Champion

    That is the sort of thing that empowers zero state anarchists. If governments produce systems which are that inhuman, who needs them!

  9. Dr Fred Lenin

    Do the alp have to pay compensationfir the acts of the peadophile mps who are now in jail ,? the catholic church’s has to

  10. Rockdoctor

    Muddy will infuriate you to know that I know of a case where 2 children have been adopted out to a deadbeat couple who already dump their biological 12yo with the grandparents and have money/alcohol problems. Oh did I mention being Caucasian in appearance they identify as ATSI…

  11. Muddy

    Rockdoctor.
    That doesn’t surprise me at all. The power these people have over the lives of others is nothing short of astonishing. I too know of similar cases. Those who make the decisions almost never have to deal with the consequences, ruling their petty fiefdoms with impunity, safe in the knowledge they cannot be challenged by those with far less power (both children and prospective adopters). All hail and genuflect to The State, omnipotent, omniscient giver and taker of life.

  12. JohnA

    Roger #2292810, posted on February 11, 2017, at 11:26 am

    Good, but why did he have to go to the US to appreciate the value of such a common sense model?

    This will take us off topic, but why are so many of our politicians bereft of initiative? Does the party system weed those who have initiative out? This is where the US presidential system of cabinet members being appointed from outside of party politics is superior to ours.

    Because the party system of career politicians now turns people of initiative (regarding social issues) into zombies spouting the mantra “Get re-elected, get/keep government. Power, power, power!”.

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