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Permanent Care

Recent changes to permanency planning laws for children and young people in care could have significant consequences for affected families, carers and the agencies that work with them.

The intention behind the changes is sound – to give children and young people greater certainty and stability by reducing the amount of time they spending ‘drifting’ in the out of home care system and attending stressful court hearings.

But there are potential side-effects of the new legislation that need to be carefully monitored to guard against detrimental impacts on the children and young people the changes seek to help.

Community service organisations, legal bodies and others have raised a number of such issues – including the short timeframe given for parents to prove they are fit and able to be reunited with their children, the potential for Aboriginal children to lose their connection to community, culture and kin, the uncertainty around maintaining sibling connections and adequate resourcing to support the changes.

The Centre for Excellence has prepared a short consultation paper to collate input and feedback from the sector on the changes, as a starting point for an ongoing conversation with the Department of Health and Human Services and the sector.

We will use the input to make recommendations to DHHS on behalf of the sector in relation to implementation of the reforms and the Terms of Reference for the planned six month review.

To focus input, we have included a set of discussion questions for agencies to consider and respond to.

We strongly urge you to contribute to this process (by Monday 18 April) on behalf of your agency, so we can provide a comprehensive sector view to DHHS on these reforms.

To contribute contact Dr Michele Lonsdale michele.lonsdale@cfecfw.asn.au or Alice Wilson O’Neill alice.oneill@cfecfw.asn.au

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