Vulnerable children will now have stronger protection with the passing of a Bill which recognises the importance of family, community and culture.
The Care and Protection of Children Amendment Bill 2023 improves the holistic and coordinated responses to the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal children and ensures the children, their families and communities are empowered in matters impacting their lives.
Every child deserves a safe upbringing, connected with their family, identity and culture.
The Bill amends the Care and Protection of Children Act 2007 principles as they relate to Aboriginal children, including strengthening the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle.
It increases the recognition of children living with disability when these children come under the jurisdiction of the Act.
The amendment Bill recognises the rights of children in care with a disability and strengthens these principles and recognise Article 7 of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Persons with a Disability.
It improves the safety and wellbeing of children in the Northern Territory by providing a legislative framework for the Child Wellbeing and Safety Partnership Framework.
The Bill gives young parents (under 18 years) the right to provide instructions directly to a lawyer in child protection matters about their children, rather than through a litigation guardian.
The reforms reflect the Government’s ongoing commitment to the wellbeing of children in the Northern Territory.
The Care and Protection of Children Act Amendment Bill 2023 will come into effect on July 1.
Quotes attributed to the Minister for Territory Families, Kate Worden:
“The Territory Labor Government believes every child matters and deserves a safe upbringing connected with their family, identity and culture.
“Parents, families and communities have the primary role in safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of their children and young people. We are committed to ensuring they are supported in carrying out this vitally important role.
“These amendments recognise the roles of persons with cultural authority in decisions relating to a child, and allows for greater cultural considerations when a child is placed with a person outside of the child’s community or kinship group.
“A principle has been incorporated into the Care and Protection of Children Act for the first time that recognises the rights of children living with disability. The amendment recognises they have the same rights as other children to express their wishes and views and have a right to be provided with disability and age appropriate assistance in realising these rights.”
Northern Territory Government