20 Apr 2018
Minister for Territory Families
The Territory Labor Government today announced that it will invest an historic $229.6 million over the next five years to continue the overhaul of the child protection and youth justice systems, and implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT.
The Royal Commission delivered 227 recommendations in its final report late last year, and the NT Government accepted the intent and direction of all recommendations.
The 217 recommendations which relate to action by the NT Government have been allocated to 17 work programs.
Minister for Territory Families Dale Wakefield today released the five-year implementation plan Safe, Thriving and Connected: Generational Change for Children and Families.
This Whole-of-Government approach will drive the changes to build safer communities.
“We are investing in generational change to create a brighter future for all Territory children and families. Too many of our vulnerable children are caught in the child protection and youth justice systems, and become adult criminals,” Ms Wakefield said.
“This record investment over five years will fund the systemic and long-term changes that are needed to put our children and families back on the right path.
“The implementation plan will deliver a Child Protection system that acts to support families early. The plan will also deliver a Youth Justice system that will hold young people accountable for their actions while providing them with the best supports to make positive life choices.
“Health care, housing, education, family support, police and justice services, are all part of the implementation plan as they are crucial to tackling the root causes of child protection and youth justice.”
The funding includes $66.9 million over five years for a new information technology system that will enable better protection of children from abuse and improve youth justice.
The need for this new client information system and data brokerage service was highlighted again most recently in the review of an alleged sexual assault of a child in Tenant Creek.
“This new information system is crucial to help staff make informed decisions about children and keep them safe from abuse and harm. It will also link with health and police databases to allow for coordinated action,” Ms Wakefield said.
Other investments include:
· $71.4 Million to replace Don Dale and Alice Springs Youth Detention Centres
· $2.8 Million over four years to improve care and protection practice
· $5.4 Million over four years to transform out-of-home care
· $11.4 Million over four years to expand the number of Child and Family Centres from six to seventeen
· $9.9 Million over four years to divert young people from crime and stop future offending
· $22.9 Million over five years to improve youth detention operations and reduce recidivism
· $8.9 Million over four years to empower local decision making and community led reform
Ms Wakefield said that the implementation plan has been informed through hundreds of hours of consultation and engagement with key stakeholders, community sector organisations and representatives of NT government agencies.
“The Territory Labor Government has been reforming the child protection and youth justice systems since August 2016. We have consulted and engaged with the sectors widely, and we will continue to do so as meaningful and long-term reform cannot be achieved by Government alone,” she said.
“Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal peak bodies particularly have an important and central role in shaping the design and delivery of local reforms, as Aboriginal children are over-represented in the child protection and youth justice systems.
“Together we will achieve the generational change that children, young people and families in the Northern Territory want and deserve.”
John Paterson, CEO, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT) said that the peak body welcomes this announcement.
“AMSANT welcomes this plan to address the needs of vulnerable children and families. This announcement is consistent with the Royal Commission and the Aboriginal Peak Organisations Northern Territory’s recommendations for a public health approach to focus on greater investment in early childhood and early intervention,” Mr Paterson said.
“We now need the Commonwealth Government of Australia to work with us and look forward to collaboration through the Tripartite Forum.”
Media Contact: Paige Nguyen 0428 727 244