Legislative Council: Tuesday, February 07, 2023


Child Protection

In reply to the Hon. C. BONAROS ().16 November 2022).

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): The Ministers for Police, Emergency Services, and Correctional Services and Child Protection have advised:

1. Staff from South Australia Police (SAPOL), the Department for Child Protection (DCP) and the Department of Human Services (OHS) are working in partnership to coordinate the wellbeing checks underway in response to the Hyde Review.

There is a government and community expectation that the assessment of the potential risk to each child, including a physical sighting and assessment of their circumstances by a trained child protection professional, is undertaken as a matter of priority. SAPOL officers will assist DCP and OHS staff as required.

2. DCP and OHS have assigned internal resources to conduct the checks. An operational working group established with representatives from DCP, OHS and SAPOL ensures the sharing of operational information, tracking of actions and the recording of outcomes necessary to ensure wellbeing checks are undertaken for each of the identified children. SAPOL play a coordinating role in this effort.

3. One in three children in South Australia are the subject of a child protection notification during their childhood. Families are facing increasing complex issues including intergenerational trauma, substance misuse, domestic violence, poverty and mental illness.

The state government continually reviews its resourcing of, and approach to the child protection system to enable it to respond to ongoing and emerging needs and begin to work to improve children's and family's lives.

In the 2022 budget the Malinauskas government committed a further $128.9 million to child protection. This investment includes the appointment of 42 new full-time social workers and 10 Principal Aboriginal Consultants. Our government last month committed a further $26.7 million to boost Child Protection Services in our response to recent reviews.