Sector Reform Timeline
Child Protection and Out-of-Home Care Reforms in NSW
Safe Home for Life
The NSW Government has introduced new legislation as part of the Safe Home for Life reform package. This legislation was proclaimed on 29th October 2014, resulting in changes for ACWA members and service providers within the sector. More...
The Child Protection Legislation Amendment Act 2014 was passed in the NSW Parliament on 26 March 2014. The changes came into effect on 29 October 2014. Further reading
Out-of-Home Care Transition in NSW
Following the Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW, Justice Wood determined that children placed with ngos receive a better standard of care and recommended the transfer of service delivery in regards to OOHC from the government to the non-government agencies. In 2011, the Liberal Government, led by Minister for Family and Community services, the hon. Pru Goward MP, outlined the reforms and clearly stated the government’s commitment to the transition, with implementation starting 1 March 2012. More...
Keep Them Safe: A Shared Approach to Child Wellbeing
Announced March 2009, Government action plan accepting 106 of the recommendations from the Wood Report. More...
Child Protection Inquiry and the Wood Report
Two separate shocking incidents of child deaths in 2007 sparked a special commission of inquiry into the child protection services in NSW. The inquiry was completed in Nov 2008. Three volume report containing 111 recommendations. More...
Inverting the Pyramid
Emergent ideas framing child protection in a public health model. Child wellbeing focus - more preventative and collaborative approach. Read more...
Aboriginal families and children are overrepresented in the child protection system. In NSW, approximately 2% of the population identify as Aboriginal. The rate of reporting 317.9 per 1000 for Aboriginal children and young people, and 76.2 per 1000 for non-Aboriginal children and young people. Approximately 32.1% (as of June 2009) of children and young people in OOHC are Aboriginal. (Wood Report, 2008; Community Services, 2010).
A System Under Pressure
In NSW, child protection reports jumped from 159,643 in 2001/02 to 309,676 in 2008/09. OOHC has a similar increase, rising from 9,273 in 2002 to 16,524 in 2009. The increases are reflective of a global trend attributed to growing awareness in the community, changing attitudes to child abuse and neglect, and forensic process of child protection. (Community Services, 2010)
See also Key Statistics
Introduction of Standards Framework
Increased use of non-government out of home care placements. NSW Children's Guardian introduces standards framework for OOHC. Further information is available from their website.
Investing in the Statutory Authority
NSW Government announces an increase to the funding for Department of Community Services. An increase of $1 billion over 5 years.
The new legislation brings in mandatory reporting. That all professionals whose work is associated with children must report instances where they are “at risk of harm”.
New Legislation in NSW
Ascension of new child protection legislation, Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act.
Emergent view that it is better to support families and have children safely remain in the family unit than to remove the child.
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
Development of convention. First developed by the League of Nations in 1924. Ratified by UN in 1990. Australia one of the first signatories. Further reading
Legislation in NSW
Ascension of Children (Care and Protection) Act. Further reading
Growing body of evidence indicating foster care is preferred model of out of home care over residential care models.
Family Court of Australia
States gradually devolve their powers in relation to ex-nuptial children to federal court. States maintain individual jurisdiction for child protection. Further reading
Research in the field of child development has a dramatic impact on conceptualising the impact that abuse and neglect have on children.
State institutionalisation of children for a variety of paternalistic reasons. More...
Forced separation of Aboriginal children from their families under policies of assimilation. More...
Colonies develop own legislations
Australian states/colonies develop individual legislative mechanisms concerning child protection for their jurisdictions.
In the US, the first known court case to protect child from cruelty uses animal welfare laws due to no applicable law for children. It argued that a child is a human and thus part of the kingdom of animals.
Transportation of Children
Children convicted of petty crimes sent to penal colony - Australia.
Colonisation of Australia
Colonisation decimates Aboriginal communities. Diseases, alcohol, and dispossession.
UK Poor Laws
Poor Relief Act 1601- Social control of poor and destitute. It introduced “a harsh regime of begrudging support and protection, often cruelly administered, for the abandoned and destitute child.”
'A Brief History of Child Protection in Australia' adapted from: Fogarty, J.F. (2008). Some aspects of the early history of child protection in Australia. Family Matters, 78, 52–59.