Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Government responds to Out-of-Home Care for Children Reports

The Howard Government’s response to two reports, detailing the historical abuse of children in institutional and out-of-home care, and contemporary child protection issues respectively, has been tabled in the Senate today.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today said the majority of the reports’ recommendations were aimed at State and Territory Governments, churches and other non-government agencies.

“I have written to relevant State and Territory Ministers urging them to take steps to act on the recommendations which fall within their jurisdiction. I have also asked my Parliamentary Secretary, Sussan Ley, to progress the Howard Government’s response,” Senator Patterson said.

“As part of the Australian Government’s response we will convene two national conferences which will bring together key stakeholders responsible for the care and protection of children.

“One conference will identify the ongoing needs of care survivors and recommend the most effective ways to meet those needs. The second will identify a practical way forward in developing a national approach to child protection.

“I commend the Senate Community Affairs References Committee in producing the two reports, Forgotten Australians, and Protecting Vulnerable Children.

“Forgotten Australians illustrates that the negative impact of traumatic childhood experiences flows through to poor adult life outcomes, including for the children and family members of care survivors. Protecting Vulnerable Children focuses more on contemporary child protection issues.

“While State and Territory Governments have primary responsibility for child protection, the Howard Government is working with them and service providers to ensure that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated,” Senator Patterson said.

A copy of the response can be obtained from: