The Commissioner for Children and Young People Leanne McLean today released the first report of the Commissioner for Children and Young People’s independent monitoring of Tasmania’s Out- of-Home Care system.
Ms McLean said independent, systemic monitoring of Tasmania’s out-of-home care system is important because it contributes to oversight of the out-of-home care system.
“This in turn improves the accountability of all those within it – from Government Ministers to Government Departments, non-government providers of services and carers, to name just a few’ Ms McLean said.
“Through the CCYP Out-of-Home Care Monitoring Program we can identify areas where we are doing well, as well as areas in which we can do things better.
“Most importantly, I hope that through increased awareness of my role to independently monitor out-of-home care in Tasmania, children and young people in out-of-home care understand that someone is keeping an eye on the system that is designed to care for them and will say something if things are not as they should be.”
Ms McLean said there are more than 1300 children living in out-of-home care in Tasmania.
“The number of children in out-of-home care is increasing every year. When a child or young person is placed in out-of-home care, the State is obliged to take on the full responsibilities of a parent – and this means promoting and protecting the best interests, rights and wellbeing of the child or young person while they are in out-of-home care.
“This report has been informed by information provided to me by those who provide out-of-home care in Tasmania, as well from other stakeholders, including carers, Government agencies, advocacy organisations and peak bodies.
“Most importantly, I have listened to what children and young people who are in or have been in the out-of-home care system have told me about how our system is working well, and how it could be improved.”
Ms McLean has made five major recommendations within the Report, including:
• Recommendation 1: Making sure children and young people in out-of-home care have a say about their care and their lives.
• Recommendation 2: Making sure everyone involved in the care of children and young people in out-of-home care is doing a good job.
• Recommendation 3: Making sure everyone involved in the care of children and young people in out-of-home care knows about the child they are caring for, what they need and how they are going.
• Recommendation 4: Making sure we know about and promote Aboriginal culture.
• Recommendation 5: Making sure children and young people in out-of-home care can be healthy.
“I want to acknowledge the many individuals – in government agencies, advocacy organisations, peak bodies and other non-government organisations – who are both passionate about and committed to promoting the wellbeing of children and young people in OOHC in Tasmania.”
The Commissioner respectfully requests that media give careful consideration to how it reports on Tasmania’s OOHC system and the impacts its reporting may have on the lives of Tasmanian children, young people and their carers.