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News and events

2017

6 February, 2017

Victoria needs to protect and strengthen youth justice model

Following today’s announcement on youth justice from the Victorian Government, the Commission for Children and Young People reiterates the importance of protecting and strengthening a separate, specialist youth justice system.

Read the full media release: Victoria needs to protect and strengthen youth justice model

27 January, 2017

Response to government decision concerning Corrections Victoria and the youth justice system – media release

There have been some significant and concerning incidents in recent months at youth justice centres in Victoria, and we note today's announcement that Corrections Victoria staff will be brought in to run youth justice centres at Parkville and Malmsbury.

Read the full media release: Response to government decision concerning corrections victoria and the youth justice system

Permanency amendments inquiry update

The Commission for Children and Young People received more than 50 submissions to the Permanency Amendments Inquiry, in response to its October 2016 consultation paper.

Submissions were received from carers, families, service providers and advocates, who could elect to make their submission public or confidential. Thirty-six public submissions are now available on our Permanency Amendments Inquiry page.

The Commission thanks all individuals and organisations who provided their valuable input to the inquiry.

The inquiry is looking into the implementation of the Children, Youth and Families Amendment (Permanent Care and Other Matters) Act 2014. The amendments, which took effect on 1 March 2016, change the way that Victoria’s child protection system operates. In particular, the changes seek to ensure that decisions about the care of vulnerable children are made in a timely way and promote permanency of care arrangements.

The Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos, recommended the Commission conduct the Inquiry, which is expected to be finalised in March 2017.

Read more about the Permanency amendments inquiry

2016

New child safe law applies from 1 January

Organisations providing services or facilities specifically for children in Victoria will be required to meet Child Safe Standards from 1 January 2017.

Activities and services provided to children can vary between organisations but all organisations need to focus on building and maintaining a child safe environment.

Read more about making your organisation child safe

Addressing children’s needs crucial to family violence reforms

Child Protection and the broader service system need to improve their responses to child victims of family violence and focus on their needs, according to a report from the Commission for Children and Young People tabled in Parliament today.

The Commission’s report, Neither seen nor heard, details systemic failures in child death cases where children had experienced family violence. The inquiry found that services commonly overlooked risks and underestimated the impact of family violence on children. Child victims were not engaged and given the support they needed to address their trauma.

Read the full media release – Addressing children’s needs crucial to family violence reforms

Taskforce 1000 investigation reveals shocking failures across systems to care for Koori kids – media release

Always was, always will be Koori children.

Victoria's child protection system has failed Aboriginal children in the state on an individual and systemic basis, a landmark state-wide investigation of nearly 1,000 cases by the Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People Andrew Jackomos has found.

Read the Taskforce 1000 investigation media release

Read the Always was, always will be Koori children full report and extract

Submissions sought from the community on changes to child protection laws – media release

The Commission’s Permanency Amendments Inquiry seeks the views of the Victorian community about changes aimed at reducing delays to decisions about long term care of vulnerable children removed from their families. 

Read the Submissions sought from the community on changes to child protection laws media release

First annual report for Principal Commissioner Liana Buchanan

The Commission for Children and Young People Annual Report for 2015–16 is now available.

Read the Commission for Children and Young People Annual Report for 2015–16 (1.3mb, pdf)

Commission inquiry into compliance with the intent of the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle in Victoria

Today the Commission's report 'In the child's best interests – inquiry into compliance with the intent of the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle in Victoria' was tabled in parliament.

Read the report: In the child's best interests - inquiry into compliance with the intent of the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle in Victoria

Read the Victorian Child Protection system failing on 'Stolen Generations' principle media release

Meeting the Child Safe Standards - an online campaign

New laws are currently being introduced that will mean Victorian organisations that have direct and regular contact with children need to meet Child Safe Standards by 1 January 2017.

Find out more about our online campaign to help organisations meet Child Safe Standards

Read the New standards to keep our kids safe media release

Child Safe Standards information sessions: businesses and organisations that work with children

Extra Melbourne sessions added for October and November

Information sessions will be held through September and October.

Child Protection Week 4 – 10 September 2016

The Commission recognises the very important work of individuals and organisations who work with vulnerable children, young people and their families.

This work can be difficult, but it can also be very rewarding. It is important to shine a light on what many people are doing to protect children and young people.

The Commission recognises the contributions made by people through two awards delivered at the Robin Clark Awards:

  • Modelling a Generous Community Award - for meaningfully connecting vulnerable children to their local community
    Vincent Shin (In-house lawyer, The Grange P-12 College, Hoppers Crossing)
  • Walda Blow Award - for contributing to the safety and well-being of Aboriginal children and young people
    Carmen Miller and Terry Foley (Ballarat & District Aboriginal Cooperative).

Commission to conduct an inquiry into the permanency amendments

The Commission will soon commence an inquiry into the permanency changes arising from the Children, Youth and Families Amendment (Permanent Care and Other Matters) Act 2014. The changes took effect in March 2016, and the inquiry will examine the evidence available after the first six months of their operation to consider whether the amendments are improving permanency for children and young people and whether they have lead to unintended consequences.

Read more about the Commission to conduct an inquiry into the permanency amendments

NT footage reminds us the end result of a ‘tough on crime’ approach to children

The stories about the abuse of children in custody in the Northern Territory are devastating. The footage aired last Monday night showed children being tear-gassed without cause, a child stripped naked and held down by multiple adult men, and the same child left hooded and restrained for hours in the kind of contraptions we associate with Guantanamo Bay.

These images have shocked us to the core, and rightly so.

Read the NT footage reminds us the end result of a ‘tough on crime’ approach to children opinion piece (Word, 66kb)

Reflections On National Reconciliation Week 2016

National Reconciliation Week marks a definitive time where non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal people come together as a nation, strive to correct the errors of the past and learn more about our shared cultures.

Read more about National Reconciliation Week 2016

Getting tough is not the answer

The past week has seen a resurgence of calls to get tough on children and young people who break the law. Prompted by new bail laws for under eighteen year olds that took effect on Monday, we have heard dire warnings: we are going ‘soft’ on young offenders; we’re in the midst of a ‘youth crime wave’; community safety will suffer. There have even been calls to step back in time and start dealing with sixteen and seventeen year olds under the adult criminal justice system.

Read Kids and crime: getting tough is not the answer

Child Safe Standards update

The Commission is supporting organisations that work with children to meet the Child Safe Standards by 1 January 2017. As part of this process we are issuing a request for quotation to deliver sector specific training. If you think your peak body organisation is well placed to deliver this training, please contact the Commission's Child Safe Standards Information Line on 8601 5281 for further information.

View the list of in scope organisations for Child Safe Standards

Announcement: State budget

The Commission for Children and Young People is pleased to note a number of commitments intended to improve outcomes for vulnerable children and young people in today’s state budget.

The $168 million investment to support the ‘Roadmap for Reform’ policy directions in child protection will support greater emphasis on prevention and early intervention, a focus the Commission has long advocated.

Read the media release announcing the budget statement (pdf, 1.1mb)

Announcement: statement on Roadmap for Reform

The state government this month launched its Roadmap for Reform, promising “once in a generation” changes to improve support for children and families.

Read the media release announcing the statement on Roadmap for Reform (pdf, 1.0mb)

A new principal commissioner begins

Liana Buchanan, the new Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People.

We welcome Liana Buchanan, the new Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People.

Lawyer and advocate, she is a part-time commissioner with the Victorian Law Reform Commission and was most recently the Executive Officer of the Federation of Community Legal Centres. She has also been responsible for monitoring the Victorian corrections system as Director, Office of Correctional Services Review and has held legal and policy positions in a number of agencies including the Equal Opportunity Commission Victoria, Office for the Status of Women (SA) and Women’s Legal Service (SA).

Read the media release announcing Liana Buchanan's commencement (pdf, 1.1mb)

New Principal Commissioner appointed

Distinguished lawyer and advocate Liana Buchanan has been appointed as Victoria's Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People.

Currently, Liana is the EO for the Federation of Community Legal Centres, and a commissioner with the Victorian Law Reform Commission.

Read the media release announcing Liana Buchanan's appointment (104kb, Word)

Child Safe Standards

The Commission is now responsible for assisting Category 1 and 2 organisations that need to be compliant with the new mandatory child safe standards:

  • Phase 1: Organisations that provide services for children that are government funded and/or regulated are required to work towards compliance from 1 January 2016.
  • Registered schools have until 1 August 2016 to be compliant with the standards.
  • Phase 2: Other organisations that provide services for children are required to comply from 1 January 2017.

View details about the Child Safe Standards

Royal Commission into Family Violence (Victoria)

We welcome the report of the Commission and its focus on children. In particular, that intervention systems for children will be strengthened as well as responses for Koori women and children.

Read the Royal Commission into Family Violence (Victoria) final report and recommendations

Andrew Jackomos speaks at the Family Matters gathering

The Victorian Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People spoke about the cultural requirements of Aboriginal children in out of home care and the organisational culture of child protection and funded agencies at the Family Matters gathering at Old Parliament House.

Read Andrew's Jackomos' speech at the Family Matters gathering (213kb, Word)

Review of Placement Prevention and Reunification Services for Aboriginal Children and families

The Department of Health and Human Services is reviewing Placement, Prevention and Reunification Services for Aboriginal Children and Families.

It is important that the Aboriginal Community and sector voice is heard as part of the review.

Children, Families, Community, ACCOs and CSOs can contribute in three ways:

  • by completing a quick on line survey
  • attending one of the forums being held across Victoria
  • providing a submission or email directly to VERSO Consulting who are undertaking the review.

To find out more or to get involved, visit the Review page on the Verso Consulting website

Commission for Children and Young People Aboriginal Inclusion Action Plan 2016 - 2019

We are proud to present our first Aboriginal Inclusion Action Plan (AIAP).

Read the Aboriginal inclusion action plan 2016 - 2019 (2.81mb, pdf)

A statement from Commissioner Andrew Jackomos

Andrew Jackomos, Victoria’s Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People calls for urgent action to support
Aboriginal children and young people so that they can enjoy their rights to freedom, protection and culture.

Read Andrew Jackomos' statement (419kb, pdf)

Acting Commissioner

Following the recent retirement of Bernie Geary, the Hon. Frank Vincent AO QC has assumed the role of Acting Principal Commissioner.

Mr Vincent has had a distinguished career as a Judge of the Supreme Court, Chancellor of Victoria University and Chair of the Adult Parole Board. He also acted as the Legal Counsel to the Betrayal of Trust Inquiry.

Compulsory child safe standards

The Commission welcomes the government's intention to introduce compulsory child safe standards for organisations that provide services to children.

For enquiries about the child safe standards please contact the Department of Health and Human Services by telephone on 9096 0000 or email childsafestandards@dhhs.vic.gov.au

Read the updated Guide for creating a child safe organisation - version 2.0 (1.9mb, pdf)

Read about the child safe standards on the Department of Human Services website

 

2015

December

Cultural rights for Koori children

Read Commissioner Jackomos' International Human Rights Day Oration - Linking our past with our future: how cultural rights can help shape identity and build resilience in Koori kids (Word, 51kb)

 

November

Commissioner Jackomos supports Bail Act Amendments relevant to children

Read the Bail Act reform to protect children - media release from Andrew Jackomos

Blueprint for change on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment and violence rates

“Far too many of our most vulnerable Aboriginal children and young people end up in the criminal justice system. We can do better to support our children and break the cycle of disadvantage."

- Andrew Jackomos

Federal, State and Territory Governments have been handed a detailed blueprint for achieving justice targets, with the aim of closing the gap in the rates of imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by 2040.

Read the news alert and download the Blueprint for change report from the NACCHO website

 

August

Victorian Aboriginal Children's Forum

Read the statement for Commissioner Andrew Jackomos, along with his speech and communique from the forum

Commission for Children and Young People Annual Report 2014-2015

The Commission for Children and Young People Annual Report for 2014-2015 is now available for download:

"...as a good parent would..."

Inquiry into the adequacy of the provision of residential care services to Victorian children and young people who have been subject to sexual abuse or sexual exploitation whilst residing in residential care.

Read the final report

 

April

Volunteers required for our new Independent Visitor Program for residential care services

We are looking for people interested in being a part of our new Independent Visitor Program for residential care services.

Read more about Independent Visitor volunteers

Inquiry into compliance with the intent of the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle (ACPP) in Victoria

We call for submissions for the inquiry into compliance with the intent of the Aboriginal Child Placement.

Commission for Children and Young People budget statement - media release

The Commission for Children and Young People welcomes a children friendly budget.

Read the 2015 budget statement media release

The Commission for Children and Young People recognises the contribution of Dr Alf Bamblett 1944-2015

Read the Commission for Children and Young People recognises the contribution of Dr Alf Bamblett 1944-2015

An open letter from Andrew Jackomos

2015 Report on Government Services : Aboorginal children in care – open letter (pdf, 1.2mb)

Read the full 2015 Report on Government Services on the Australian Government Productivity Commission website

Australian Children's Commissioners and Guardians Principles for Child Safety in Organisations

 

March

Aboriginal Out of Home Care Conference scheduled for 12-13 March 2015

The Commission is cancelling the conference and will continue to work on key pieces of work to improve outcomes for Aboriginal children in out of home care and reduce over representation through Taskforce 1000, a systemic inquiry into compliance with the intent of the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle and an inquiry into Aboriginal children in out of home care.

We apologise for any inconvenience.

 

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