Children and Community Services Act 2004 Review
The Minister for Child Protection, the Hon Robyn McSweeney MLC, was required to carry-out a review of the Children and Community Services Act 2004 in 2012, including a review of the mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse provisions which came into effect on 1 January 2009.
The Children and Community Services Act 2004 (the Act) came into effect on 1 January 2006, replacing child welfare laws in Western Australia that were over fifty years old. The Department for Child Protection and Family Support is the agency principally assisting the Minister in administration of the Act.
The Review examined the operation and effectiveness of the Act, with particular reference to:
- the objects of the Act set-out under section 6 (see below); and
- the mandatory reporting provisions under Part 4 Division 9A.
The objects of the Act are:
- to promote the wellbeing of children, other individuals, families and communities; and
- to acknowledge the primary role of parents, families and communities in safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of children; and
- to encourage and support parents, families and communities in carrying out that role; and
- to provide for the protection and care of children in circumstances where their parents have not given, or are unlikely or unable to give, that protection and care; and
- to protect children from exploitation in employment (section 6).
A Legislative Review Reference Committee assisted the Department for Child Protection and Family Support to carry out the review. The Committee included a representative from the Western Australian Council of Social Service, Department of Health, Department of Education, Western Australia Police and the Public Sector Commission and was chaired by the Department’s Executive Director of Policy and Learning.
The Review received 25 written submissions from interested individuals and organisations following an advertisement calling for submissions placed in The West Australian on 19 May 2012.
The Review, which completed its work in October 2012, made 28 recommendations. The Minister tabled the Report of the Legislative Review of the Children and Community Services Act 2004 in the Legislative Council on Thursday 29 November 2012. A copy of the final report can be downloaded from the Parliamentary website at: http://www.parliament.wa.gov.au/Test/Tables.nsf/screenLCTabledPapersByDate?openform, and a copy of the Act can be downloaded from the State Law Publisher by visiting http://www.slp.wa.gov.au.