Care and protection programs
Government programs for care and protection take over the role of caring for a child or young person from the parent or guardian. This may occur where
- the parents are ill or unable to cope with caring for a child or young person
- the child or young person has a severe disability
- child abuse or neglect is occurring
- there is an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship of the child or young person and his or her parents.
A child or young person placed in care and protection may
- stay at home with his or her family but be under supervision by the welfare department
- be put in alternate care such as foster care, juvenile hostels or other homes.
Abuse and neglect
A child or young person is considered abused when the action or lack of action of a carer causes him or her physical, sexual or emotional harm. All states and territories except Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory have ‘mandatory reporting’ of suspected child abuse. This means that certain people such as police, doctors, teachers and social workers must report child abuse when they believe it is happening.
Mandatory reporting sends out a clear message that child abuse will not be tolerated. However, some people argue that it does not give the child or young person a say in how he or she would like to deal with the abuse.
Issue 23: We would like to hear any comments you may have about processes for care and protection.
We would also like to hear any other comments you may have about children and the legal process.
A more detailed Issues Paper about children and the legal process is also available from the Commissions. Contact details are on the inside cover of this paper.
If you would like more information about any of the areas discussed in this paper see the next page for details.