National co-ordination is needed

4.66 This chapter has shown that Australia has not secured real participation for children in many of its legal processes. These problems affect children in each jurisdiction and in each legal process examined in the Inquiry. Notwithstanding the Commonwealth’s co-ordination initiatives described in Chapter 3, children who are dealt with by the Family Court, who are in care or who ought to be in care, who are drifting from the care and protection system to the juvenile justice system, or who are left to their own devices by government service delivery agencies also face problems caused by the jurisdictional division between governments and agencies.

4.67 Submissions to the Inquiry argued that the welfare of children is a national issue that requires Commonwealth oversight and assistance in developing best practice models for dealing with children. They argued that Commonwealth co-ordination is necessary to ensure better delivery of services to children by all levels of government. As Chapter 3 has detailed, the Commonwealth already funds research, provides services to children, and develops and promotes a co-ordinated approach to policy on some children’s issues. The following chapters recommend that the Commonwealth should undertake a better focused, more effective role in this regard.