Media Release by Senator the Hon Zed Seselja

National Permanency reform for children in out of home care

Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs, Senator Zed Seselja, welcomed the unanimous agreement amongst the states and territories at today’s Community Services Ministers meeting in Darwin on the timeliness of decision making for children in out of home care.

“At the moment we have over 18,000 children who have been in care for more than 5 years and have had multiple placements in this time,” said Senator Seselja.

“We know that if we give children stability in their lives, they are less likely to enter the juvenile justice system, more likely to get an education and far less likely to enter into homelessness.”

Today, states and territories agreed to Permanency Guiding Principles which includes agreements to implementing timeframes through legislation and/or policy and practice to ensure timely decision making on the future of children.

And more than that, they have agreed to report nationally on the time it is taking for each of the jurisdictions to make a decision.

“We have never had nationally comparable reporting in this area so to get an agreement from the states that the timeliness of decisions will be shared nationally is a great step forward,” Senator Seselja said.

“This means there will be faster decisions and more accountability in the most important areas of government – looking after out most vulnerable children.

“The Commonwealth is absolutely committed to leading these reforms to create improved permanency outcomes for children, including adoption.