The Children and Young People Safety Bill was introduced to Parliament in February 2017.
On Thursday 6 July 2017 the Bill passed through Parliament. The Bill has not yet commenced.
The Bill replaces the Children's Protection Act 1993 and ensures that keeping children and young people safe from harm is paramount. It also gives a voice and better representation to children and young people under custody and guardianship orders in decisions that will affect their lives.
You can see the Bill on the South Australian Legislation website.
Some of the key changes include:
- the inclusion of a parliamentary declaration recognising the importance of children and young people in our State
- principles which require early decision making to promote permanence and stability for children and young people
- the guardianship function currently held by the Minister is vested in the chief executive of the Department for Child Protection
- increased voice and involvement for children and young people
- increased rights for carers, including the ability to apply to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) for review of certain decisions of the chief executive
- the establishment of Child and Family Assessment and Referral Networks, and a Child and Young Person's Visitor scheme
- the ability of the chief executive to cause a family group conference
- powers for the chief executive to direct parents to undergo drug and alcohol assessments and parenting capacity assessments
- a requirement for the Minister to arrange assistance for eligible care leavers, including:
- the provision of education and training services
- assistance finding accommodation, employment and accessing legal and support services
- a requirement for those employed in licensed residential facilities, both government and non-government, to undergo psychological assessment of a kind determined by the chief executive.
The Children and Young People (Safety) Bill will replace the Children's Protection Act 1993.
The Bill promotes permanence and stability for children and young people who have been removed from their parents or guardians. It encourages decisions and actions to be made in a timely manner and, in the case of young children, as early as possible.
The Bill also contains a number of provisions designed to ensure that the child's voice is heard. Under the Bill, children and young people must participate in decision-making where appropriate, and must have a reasonable opportunity to put their views to the court.
A major change is that the guardianship function, currently undertaken by the Minister for Education and Child Development under the Children's Protection Act 1993, will instead be undertaken by the Chief Executive of the Department for Child Protection. This is in line with a recommendation of the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission to ensure decision making occurs as close as possible to the child.
It will also better align South Australia with other jurisdictions with respect to guardianship of children and young people in care.