Submission on the Review of the Child Care Act 1991

Barnardos. (2018). Submission on the Review of the Child Care Act 1991.
Barnardos welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs on the review of the Child Care Act 1991 (CCA). Barnardos works with more than 14,000 families each year. For many of these families the CCA has a profound effect on their lives. The CCA provides the legal framework for the intervention of the state in family life to ensure that all children receive the protection and care they need and that families are supported, where possible to provide this. In practise, however there are shortcomings both in the legislation and in how it is put in to practice. This legislation was enacted more than a quarter of a century ago. During this time there have been huge developments in our thinking on child development, child protection and welfare practice, as well as legislative and constitutional changes in relation to children. It is appropriate this legislation is updated in line with these developments and with a new generation of children in mind. In general, the focus of the CCA should move away from responding to issues when they arise and towards putting measures in place to prevent problems arising. In recent years investigations have highlighted many cases in which the State failed to protect children in its care. If the State is to act in loco parentis it must act as a parent should and provide the ongoing safety, care, security and consistency a child needs.