The Children and Young People Safety Bill was introduced to Parliament in February 2017. You can see the Bill on the South Australian Legislation website.
The Bill will underpin South Australia's child protection system and will offer children stronger protection and a voice in decisions that directly affect their future.
On Tuesday 28 March 2017 the government filed amendments to the Children and Young People (Safety) Bill 2017, which is currently before Parliament.
The changes respond to consultation held with key groups in the child protection sector, following the Bill's introduction in February 2017. The government has worked closely with these groups to discuss their concerns and further refine the Bill.
The amendments will help clarify and expand on measures within the Bill, ensuring the legislation provides robust protection for the state's most vulnerable children and young people.
A consultation summary (PDF 218KB) has been prepared, outlining the proposed amendments.
Some of the key changes include:
- explicit mention of female genital mutilation within the definition of 'at risk' to invoke the powers and functions of the Act
- amendments to the reversal of the onus of proof provision
- removal of the provision regarding civil liability immunity for the Crown, minister and the department
- removal of provisions in the Bill's Aboriginal Placement Principles that were causing concerns for the community
- reinstating the chief executive as having power to direct parents to undergo drug and alcohol assessments, rather than the courts.
The new proposed laws will replace the current Children's Protection Act 1993 as part of the government's commitment to large-scale reform of the child protection system.
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 proposed by the Bill is that the guardianship function, currently undertaken be 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 will better align South Australia with other jurisdictions with respect to guardianship of children and young people in care.