Another Government report tells us what we already know - It’s about time that things changed

17 March 2017

The NSW Legislative Council Inquiry into Child Protection yesterday released a report called Child Protection. It is yet another in a long list of reports into the child protection system telling us what we already know: game changing reform is needed. 

The Benevolent Society Executive Director Strategic Engagement Kirsty Nowlan says, “There are over four decades of reports on the child protection system highlighting chronic systemic failures. It is now time for government and the sector to mature beyond investigations and begin doing something about it.” 

Having highlighted concerns to the General Purpose Standing Committee No. 2, which was conducting the inquiry last year, The Benevolent Society welcomes the recommendations in the report that calls for better co-ordination, a process to improve assessments, investment into restoration, training and support for the workforce and increased investment in early intervention and prevention. 

Dr Nowlan says, “The safety and wellbeing of a child must be paramount for any society and for too long real progress on outcomes for children has been used as a political and bureaucratic football – it’s time to put the ball down and get on with the job.” 

The Benevolent Society notes the Hon. Greg Donnelly, Committee Chair’s comments about Family and Community Services’ ability to fully comprehend, plan and execute its mandate. “We believe the focus on child protection is misplaced and we should be looking more broadly at how we promote the safety and wellbeing of children. This is a mandate that belongs to multiple layers of government and civil society not just Family and Community Services, “ says Dr Nowlan.

“We will be watching closely how the government responds to the report and particularly how they implement the recommendations. We look forward to working with government and the sector as the reforms are delivered to ensure outcomes related to child safety and wellbeing are measured and tracked. It is no longer acceptable for government inquiries to continue ad infinitum. We must move to an age where we are all being held accountable for child safety and wellbeing outcomes.” 

Yesterday’s report comes on the back of the AIHW report released earlier this week which indicated that nationally, 1 in 33 children come in contact with the child protection system, an increase of 10,000 children per year. As statistics these figures are staggering and unsustainable; as they represent children they are heartbreaking.

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Melanie King, Manager Media Relations & Public Affairs, The Benevolent Society 02 8262 3547 Melanie.king@benevolent.org.au

About The Benevolent Society 

The Benevolent Society is Australia’s first charity, working as a catalyst for social change for over 200 years. The Benevolent Society provides quality services in the areas of Child and Family Support and Assistance, and assisting older people and Australians with disability to age well and live a healthy life, staying in their homes wherever possible. For more information, please visit www.benevolent.org.au, on Facebook/thebenevolentsociety or on Twitter - @BenevolentAU