Report into care of children can’t be ignored

The introduction to the Commissioner for Children and Young People’s new report into out-of-home care puts it quite succinctly.
Nanjing Night Net

“Every child is born into the world rich with great potential and hope,” says Commissioner Mark Morrissey.

But healso notes that not every child gets a great start to life.

“For some children, their lives are fractured by events that befall their families or caregivers, who for a wide range of reasons, can no longer offer them the nurture and support that is so critical to their health and wellbeing. At times this is for a short period but in many circumstances the State is required to assume the role of parenting on a short, medium or long term basis,” says the report.

Unfortunately, failures in the system in recent years have led to the report which was released on Tuesday.

The simplest and most easily implemented of Commissioner’s seven key recommendations is to listen to children in care.

Mr Morrissey has set out some steps on how to achieve this, and it shouldn’t be too complex.

This includes establishing a visiting program for individual children and young people in OOHC – which incorporates an individual advocacy component.

He also recommends reviewing the policy on visiting children in OOHC and reporting publicly on compliance with it, andestablishment of a tribunal in Tasmania vested with jurisdiction that includes decisions made about children’s wellbeing in OOHC.

The first two of these three recommendations shouldn’t take long to get happening.

A survivor of the system, Irish-Blue Rai, has backed the request to listen to children.

She says for young people in care trying to be heard is like “yelling into the wind”.

Giving these young people a valid voice, and more importantly, making the appropriate response to what they say, could be the best thing to come out of the report.

On the government’s behalf, the response of the Minister for Human Services Jacqui Petrusma was short and sweet.

But she has committed toimmediately begin implementing the recommendations. She says that where additional funding is required, this will be progressed as part of the Budget process.

The state must be held accountable on this and not allowed to see it be ignored like other reports into this most vulnerable section of our community.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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