3.1 Chapter 1 set out the fundamental assumptions upon which this Report is based. The first of these was that the state and the family are jointly responsible for fostering the development of children. Families have the primary responsibility for preparing children for adulthood, as the ‘…pre-eminent source of tutelage and control [by which] children are honed, socialized and protected while they develop into adults’.[1] The state assists families in this effort and intervenes in certain families to assume direct responsibility for abused or neglected children or to give particular assistance to families that need additional support. Chapter 2 provided a detailed statistical picture of those children involved in legal processes, often due to this direct or indirect state interaction with their families. In this chapter, we analyse further the working assumption of joint family-state responsibility for children and the mechanisms by which the state interacts with families for the benefit of children, as well as Australia’s current obligations and undertakings in this regard.

[1] C Smith ‘Children’s rights: Judicial ambivalence and social resistance’ (1997) 11 International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family 103, 134. See also ICCPR art 23; CROC preamble.