Instruction to Committee - Children Youth and Families Amendment Bill 2015

Written on the 16 September 2015


Instruction to committee 


GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan) I move:

That it be an instruction to the committee that they have power to consider amendments and new clauses to amend the Children, Youth and Families Amendment (Permanent Care and Other Matters) Act 2014 that relate to the restrictions on the making of protection orders under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 and requiring the Children's Court of Victoria to publish information relating to decisions not to make protection orders and requiring the Commission for Children and Young People to report on that information in the commission's annual report.

The coalition is moving this instruction in relation to what has been broadly discussed in the second-reading debate as the reasons for putting these amendments to the house today. As has been suggested by members of the coalition, we believe there needs to be greater transparency and greater accountability for vulnerable children. Victoria's vulnerable children deserve nothing less, and in relation to understanding what is happening with some of our most vulnerable children those who have been in abusive or neglectful situations and require court decisions to be made surely the courts, the community, the Department of Health and Human Services, the agencies and all those involved in looking after those children have a greater understanding of what is actually going on.

We believe it is reasonable that this data be provided on a quarterly basis to the Victorian public and that it be made available to the community through publication on websites. Once that is undertaken on a regular basis I think we will be able to gain a greater understanding of the barriers that prevent the provision of services to those vulnerable children who require the attention of child protection services, their agencies, the department, governments and the courts.

That is what we are broadly asking for, and we are asking the Commission for Children and Young People to review those findings along with information it may need to seek from the department, if required, and to include that data in its annual report. This will not only strengthen the commission's position in terms of understanding what is happening to our most vulnerable children but give the department, the community and everybody involved a far greater understanding of what is actually going on that is, why children are not being dealt with in a timely fashion, if that is the issue; why services are not being provided to parents, if the provision of drug and alcohol services is the issue; and why there are protracted court proceedings, if that is the issue. All these elements will be made known to the community and can be acted upon. Then as a government and as legislators we can improve in the areas that are required to be improved. As has been said, it is not just about legislation; it is about what is happening, how we can support the provision of services and how we can improve the outcomes for our most vulnerable children.

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