Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2023 passed in the ACT
CREATE welcomes the passage of the Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2023. The Bill is a key step towards fully embedding the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle into legislation and as such implementing a key recommendation of the Our Booris, Our Way review. CREATE also welcomes the consultation process currently underway on the second round of changes to the Children and Young People Act 2008 and acknowledges the importance of modernisation of the Act in better supporting children and young people in care.
ACT raises the age of criminal responsibility to 14 (with exceptions)
The passing of the Justice (Age of Criminal Responsibility) Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 in the ACT Legislative Assembly on Wednesday afternoon now means that children in the ACT under the age of 14 will not be charged, convicted or incarcerated for criminal offences (except in exceptional cases) from mid-2025. CREATE welcomes this move by the ACT Government as an important step to reducing the over-representation of young people with a care experience in the youth justice system. However, CREATE supports raising the age of criminal responsibility to 14 years with no exceptions. CREATE supports trauma-informed diversion and therapeutic supports for children who come into contact with the criminal justice system. In this spirit, we support the establishment of a Therapeutic Support Panel in the ACT, which will work with children and young people in an effort to address the needs of young people who come into contact with the youth justice system.
Read the Joint media release here: ACT raises the minimum age of criminal responsibility – Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate
ACT’s first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People Commissioner
CREATE congratulates Vanessa Turnbull-Roberts on her appointment as the ACT’s first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and Young People Commissioner. We look forward to collaborating with Ms Turnbull-Roberts and supporting her work to improve the rights and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people, especially those with a care experience. We also welcome the appointment of Ms Turnbull-Roberts as a critical step by the ACT Government towards fully implementing recommendations of the 2019 Our Booris, Our Way Report.
Leanne McLean re-appointed as Tasmania’s Commissioner for Children and Young People
CREATE congratulates Leanne McLean on her re-appointment as Tasmania’s Commissioner for Children and Young People. We commend Ms McLean on her continued effort to uphold the rights of children and young people in care, especially the right to participate.
‘A Place at the Table’ – The Tasmanian Commissioner for Children and Young People’s Case Management Investigation
CREATE welcomes the release of the Commissioner for Children and Young People’s report A place at the Table. The report follows Commissioner McLean’s investigation into changes to the case management of children and young people in out-of-home care in Tasmania. We were saddened by the Commissioner’s finding that in all aspects of the change to a team-based case management approach, the rights of children and young people in care to participate were not upheld.
Young people in Tasmania have told CREATE how important the right to participate is:
“You should have a say whether it’s a big decision or not…” (Young person, 16 years)
“I think absolutely, young people should have had a say. I can’t believe that’s even a question that people have to ask. Everything that changes in the system directly affects those young people.” (Young person, 18 years)
We hope to see the Tasmanian Government implement all seven recommendations put forward by the Commissioner for Children and Young People. CREATE joins the Commissioner in her calls for the Department of Education, Children and Young People to re-set its relationship with children and young people in care by developing a comprehensive and consistent approach to upholding their rights.
‘Let us learn’ – Victoria’s Commission for Children and Young People releases report
Victoria’s Commission for Children and Young People have released their report on engagement in education and outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care – Let us learn. CREATE is particularly concerned by the finding that most children and young people in residential care in Victoria are not cared for in a setting that supports them to engage in education.
CREATE recognises that education is an important gateway to health and emotional wellbeing, job satisfaction, economic prosperity and independence. As such, we were saddened by data in the report that suggests that only a quarter of students in care progress from year 10 to year 12 in government schools, compared to over 80 per cent of the general student population.
We hope to see the Victorian Government seriously consider these findings and develop a plan to implement the 47 recommendations to improve the educational outcomes for children and young people in care.
Cabinet changes in the Northern Territory
The Northern Territory government has announced a renewed cabinet team. CREATE welcomes the new Minister of Territory Families, Ngaree Ah Kit, and looks forward to collaborating on improving the out-of-home care systems in the Northern Territory.
South Australia’s Guardian reports shed light on youth detention and residential care
The Guardian for Children and Young People in South Australia, Shona Reid, has released three Annual Reports for her different role as Guardian, Training Centre Visitor, and Child and Young Person’s visitor. The reports have been widely discussed in the media as they shed light into the conditions of young people in youth justice and residential care. The reports describe what daily life is like for young people in these institutions, and show compelling data about urgent issues that affect their safety and human rights such as self-harm, the use of force, or the impact of isolation of young people, many of whom with disabilities. CREATE acknowledges the important work of the Guardian and highly recommends reading the reports here.
‘Data Explorer’ – Queensland Family and Child Commision’s new resources on youth wellbeing
The Queensland Family and Child Commission has recently published three new resources.
The Commission has conducted a study on the impact of the Blue Card requirement for kinship carers. Furthermore, the team recently released an interactive resource called ‘Data Explorer’, which showcases data on family wellbeing in Queensland gathered from their ‘Growing Up in Queensland’ project. QFCC also published their Annual Report outlines their activities in supporting children and their families alongside relevant data.
CREATE values these publications as valuable resources for systemic change and advocacy in the state. As the Family and Child Commission Act 2014 which regulates the functions of the Commission is currently being reviewed, CREATE would like to acknowledge the performance and contributions of QFCC and their role in supporting children and young people in out-of-home care.
DOCS Class Actions in Queensland against discrimination in Child Protection
Two class actions on behalf of First Nations families have been launched against the Queensland Department of Child Safety based on complaints from First Nations families about discriminatory experiences with the child protection system. These legal cases are about incidents that took place after 1992, and have the potential, CREATE hopes, to lead to justice and more broadly contribute to much needed changes in the sector.
Speak Up, Be Heard! New report released by Western Australian Commissioner
The Commissioner for Children and Young People in Western Australia has released a report drawing from a forum called ‘Stand-Up, Be Heard’. The findings show that young people are often not comfortable speaking up, and identify barriers as well as strategies to encourage young people to have their say on matters that are important to them, and make a difference with their voices.
Submission to the ACT Government on the proposed Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2, 2024
CREATE recently provided a submission to the ACT Government on the proposed Children and Young People Amendment Bill 2 2024. Our submission raised some concerns that directly relate to how proposed reforms will be operationalised and supported by practice reforms needed to better divert children, young people and families from contact with the child protection system and improve experiences for those already in contact with the system. This includes meaningfully engaging children and young people as experts by experience. We also advocate for increased resource allocation to ensure that legislative reform can be translated into real outcomes for children, young people and families. Read our full submission here.
Submission to the Office of the Advocate for Children and Young People Special Inquiry into Children and Young People in Alternative Care Arrangements
CREATE responded to the Office of the Advocate for Children and Young People (ACYP) Special Inquiry into Children and Young People in Alternative Care Arrangements (ACAs). ACAs can include hotels, motels, caravan parks, serviced apartments, and other similar places.
CREATE argued that ACAs are not a suitable admission point for children and young people first entering out-of-home care. Such arrangements are not suitable to provide children and young people with a stable and supportive environment to recover from adverse life experiences. As such, CREATE will continue to advocate for the NSW Government to work towards transitioning away from the use of ACAs, especially as an entry point to out-of-home care. Read our full submission here.
Submission to the Youth Network of Tasmania on ‘Becoming an adult: the experience of young Tasmanians today’
CREATE provided feedback on the Youth Network of Tasmania’s (YNOT) discussion paper ‘Becoming an Adult: the experience of young Tasmanians today that will inform the forthcoming Youth Transitions 18-25 Action Plan. We urged YNOT to elevate young people transitioning from care as a priority cohort that requires additional support within the Youth Transitions 18-25 Action Plan. Young people who are concurrently preparing to transition to adulthood while also exiting the care system are a particularly vulnerable cohort in need of additional supports. These supports should address their self-defined needs, acknowledge their experiences within the care system, and attend to the relative disadvantage that many care leavers experience. Read our full submission here.
Update on CREATE’s consultations
CREATE’s annual consultations are underway in the following states:
- Victoria (Health and Wellbeing for ages 14-17)
- Australian Capital Territory (Health and Wellbeing for ages 14-17)
- Northern Territory (Health and Wellbeing for ages 14-17)
- Queensland (Caseworker support for ages 12-17)
If you are a young person with a care experience in one of these states and would like to participate in one of our consultations, please get in touch with your state team: https://create.org.au/state-teams/
If you would like to know more about CREATE’s consultations please check out our website: https://create.org.au/consultations/
- The Commissioner for Residential Tenancies wants to hear first-hand from renters about their personal experiences renting a home in Victoria. Share your story here.
- Deadline extended to contribute to the Western Australian Youth Action Plan: submissions are open until 29 March 2024, so you are still in time to tell the Western Australian government what young people want to see happening in the state. Join here: https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-communities/new-action-plan-young-people-western-australia
- Have your say on the upcoming youth justice reform in Queensland: the Queensland Parliament called for submissions to hear how we should reform the youth justice legislation. If you want to express your view on this important matter, especially if you have personal experiences, have your say here by 10 January 2024: Committee Details | Queensland Parliament
- Join the DOCS class action in Queensland: These class actions are legal cases by First Nations people who have had experiences of discrimination in child protection in Queensland after 1992. Other individuals and families who have had similar experience, as children or parents removed from their families, may found out more here.