The Andrews Labor Government has initiated an independent review of legal changes that seek to address delays in decision-making processes around children who can’t live with their families because of abuse and neglect.
The review will draw on information acquired since the changes came into effect on 1 March 2016, and examine whether changes have improved permanency of care for children and are working as intended.
Interested parties, including parents, carers, community services organisations and legal representatives, are invited to make submissions to the review.
Under Victorian law, permanency refers to an ongoing care arrangement that keeps a child safe and gives them a sense of certainty about their future.
For most Victorian children involved with child protection, permanency is achieved through supports that keep a family together or when a child is able to safely return to their parents’ care.
For a small number of children who cannot return to their parents, permanency is achieved through alternative arrangements, such as permanent care or long-term foster care.
Last year, the Labor Government acted to reinstate the power of the Children’s Court to refuse to make a permanent protection order if it was not satisfied that the Department of Health and Human Services had provided the necessary services to families.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos
“There is nothing more important than the safety of our children, and this review will help us understand whether the recent changes provide greater certainty for children and young people.”
“The Andrews Labor Government isn’t wasting a day in doing all we can to help vulnerable children, and this review will support us in that work.”
Quotes attributable to the Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People Liana Buchanan
"This area of law has serious implications for children, and we are pleased to be conducting an independent inquiry into the impact the permanency amendments are having on vulnerable children and their families.”
“We have started reviewing data on the first six months and will soon call for public submissions, as it is important to us that the inquiry is based on evidence from children, families, carers and the service sector."
Reviewed 19 August 2020