The Department for Child Protection has a significant responsibility in ensuring that all children and young people are safe.
Children under the guardianship of the minister are entrusted into the care of the state. The government and its staff have a responsibility to look after them as a ‘good parent’ would.
Children and young people enter the care system for a variety of reasons including:
- abuse or neglect
- illness or death of a parent
- their families being unable to provide adequately for them at that point in time.
In cases where serious abuse or neglect has occurred, or parents/caregivers cannot guarantee the safety of their child, it may not be possible for children to return to their parents. Long-term care may be needed until they turn 18 years of age.
The decision to remove a child or young person from their home environment is not an easy one. The department must have sufficient evidence to satisfy the Youth Court that it is in the best interests of the child.
The Youth Court always makes the final decision.