08 August 2016

Professor Fiona ArneyThe University of South Australia’s Australian Centre for Child Protection has responded to the findings in the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission.

Professor Fiona Arney, Director of the Australian Centre for Child Protection, describes the Commission as providing a reform agenda which is focused on the best interests of children. Professor Arney’s full response to Commissioner Nyland’s findings in the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission is detailed here:

“The Royal Commission report is sobering. It highlights how we as a society, parents, workers, systems, members of the general public, have repeatedly failed the most vulnerable children in this state.

“It describes a system, stretched beyond its capacity and capability that has focused on protecting itself rather than the children it was designed to serve.

“The case studies and statistics in the report are shocking. They identify problems at such a scale that only our collective action can solve them.

“The Commission has provided a reform agenda which is focused on the best interests of children, on building and sustaining a capable workforce, and on the delivery of high quality care.

 “The Commission has highlighted the need to drastically improve the timeliness of response and the quality of care for those children already hitting the system, and it has also emphasised a need for evidence based prevention and early intervention options.

"The need for reform is obvious however the process of reform will not be straightforward. With 260 recommendations being made, the list of recommendations must not be treated as a shopping list.

“The recommendations and the approach to reform require rapid and rational consideration – many of the recommendations will only work if other aspects of system reform are effective, some require considerable resourcing, and as the Commission has identified, alternative solutions may be more effective.

“What can change immediately is our approach to vulnerable children - we all have to make the commitment to do something very differently.

“The Australian Centre for Child Protection has repeatedly identified that child abuse and neglect must be identified as the most pressing paediatric public health concern facing our children, and that we must provide a response to this epidemic that is focused, well resourced, based on best evidence, has abuse prevention as a key aim, and places children and their needs at the centre. Children's participation is essential to realising their best interests.” 

Media contact: Will Venn mobile: +61 401 366054 email: will.venn@unisa.edu.au

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