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Children’s Commissioner Must Have Oversight Over All Out-of-home Care

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 1 October 2020

Tags: Children and Young People

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Children spokesperson

The Commissioner for Children and Young People’s oversight of the out-of-home care system is critical in making sure children are cared for properly. The Commissioner, however, can’t monitor the wellbeing of children placed with interstate service providers. This undermines a core element of our child protection system.
All out-of-home care providers used by the government must be subject to independent, external oversight. 
Tasmanian children sent to the Brahminy program in the Northern Territory are currently outside the Children’s Commissioner’s jurisdiction. That is totally unacceptable. 
Media reports of children in the Brahminy program being mistreated require urgent investigation. It is particularly disturbing the government contracted an out-of-home care provider who is not subject to the Commissioner’s oversight.  
As Minister, Roger Jaensch signed off on children being sent to the Northern Territory, even though he knows there’s no way of ensuring they’re being looked after properly. It’s his responsibility to fix this situation. 
Six Tasmanian children remain in the hands of a man who has apparently fabricated his entire background story. All misleading Minister Jaensch has said is that his department is ‘looking into’ the matter – Tasmanians can’t trust a word he says. 
These children are separated from their families by thousands of kilometres and closed borders, and there’s nobody who can independently verify they are safe and well. They must be brought home, and the government must ensure the Commissioner for Children is able to properly monitor all other out-of-home care providers.