As National Child Protection Week commences, the State Government is announcing the commencement of a full review of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017.

The review provides an opportunity for all South Australians to consider input into and support efforts to build a better child protection system.

This review will be informed by feedback from key stakeholders including children and young people, carers, families, non-government and government partners, advocacy groups, the academic sector and those with direct experience of the system.

The review provides a critical opportunity to rigorously examine and improve the central legislative framework through which South Australia’s child protection system operates. It is the opportunity to re-define what our child safety responses look like going forward, to deliver on our commitments to Aboriginal children and young people and to make sure we have the legal frameworks in place that reflect community values and expectations.

Targeted consultation with Aboriginal people and organisations will seek to ensure the legislation helps us deliver on our commitment to effectively implement the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle.

The review will help make sure South Australia has the right settings in place to prioritise responses to those children and young people in our community who are most at risk of harm, and to place their safety at the centre of our decision-making.  For the sector and the community, it is an important opportunity to think about how the legislation can enable us all to better support children, young people and their families.

Section 169 of the Act requires a review of the legislation to be completed before the fifth anniversary of the commencement of the legislation.

This review will also take into consideration the findings of other inquiries and reviews currently underway across the child protection system.

Public submissions to the review will open via the YourSAy online platform on Tuesday, 6 September. A series of metropolitan, regional and Aboriginal focussed consultation sessions will be held during September and October. Event details will be made available online on 12 September 2022.

Quotes attributable to Katrine Hildyard

I am committed to working with our community, the child protection sector and across
government to build an improved child protection system.

Building an improved child protection system for the future requires amplifying the voices
of those at its centre and engaging the broader community in public discussion about the
intense challenges we face and what it will take do better.

This review gives us the opportunity to do so and, with one in three South Australian
children notified to the child protection system before they are 18, do so we must.
This review is a significant undertaking and we are committed to doing what we can to
get it right so that South Australian children have the best chance of being raised in an
environment they deserve – safe, nurturing, stable and secure.

A key priority of the review is to work with Aboriginal stakeholders to deliver on our
commitment to fully embed the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement

Through the review, we are determined to explore how we can increase family group
conferencing; better detect and act on cumulative harm; improve responses when
children are at risk due to parental meth use; and contend with the links between child
protection and domestic and family violence and consider whether legislation could
mandate perpetrator education.

I encourage anyone who wants to provide feedback on the legislation to do so through
the channels available over the next 10 weeks.

This review represents a crucial and potentially transformative moment to better respond
to the complex and deeply interconnected issues facing families and the child protection
system and in doing so, improve children’s lives.

Quotes attributable to Uniting Communities CE, Simon Schrapel

Our legislation should not only provide a platform for addressing the removal of children
from unsafe environments but to commit to all families and parents the resources and
assistance required to enable children to live safely at home and connected to

The high rates of child removal in South Australia require a substantially different
approach with legislation that fosters a fundamental right for all families and parents to
have the best chance to fulfil their responsibilities to children and young people.

Quotes attributable to Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People,
April Lawrie

It’s important that all elements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child
Placement Principle are included and applied to all decisions made about Aboriginal
children, not just placement decisions.

I have previously advocated for a greater focus on early intervention to prevent
removals, more involvement of Aboriginal families in decisions and active efforts to place
Aboriginal children with Aboriginal family.