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NSW Government response

About the NSW Government response

On 7 July 2020, the NSW Government provided a formal response to the Family is Culture, Independent Review of Aboriginal Children and Young People in Out-of-Home Care (OOHC) PDF, 830.74 KB.

The response makes a clear commitment to building a child protection system that is more responsive to the needs of Aboriginal children, families and communities.

It reasserts our commitment to working in partnership with Aboriginal communities to address the systemic recommendations made in the review.

It also shows our appreciation to the Independent Review Team, in particular Professor Megan Davis, for their expertise, time and care in completing the review.

You can find out more about how we’re responding to the Review on the Our Progress page.

Background on the Review

In September 2016, the NSW Government commissioned an independent review into the disproportionate and increasing number of Aboriginal children and young people in OOHC in NSW.

The Independent review team examined the experiences of 1,144 Aboriginal children and young people who entered OOHC during 2015-16.

The Family is Culture Review Report speaks to the experiences of those children and young people, their families and their communities, as they navigated the NSW child protection system.

The review made 125 recommendations to the way we deliver services and over 3,000 recommendations referring to specific children and young people.

Of the 125 recommendations, 24 will be considered as part of a focused statutory review of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998, which is due to commence in 2024.

Family is Culture Themes

We have broadly categorised recommendations and our response into five main themes:

  • 1. Stronger oversight and accountability

    This theme relates to:

    • Mechanisms to increase transparency and provide oversight into Aboriginal matters
    • Public accountability of the department’s work
    • Internal departmental mechanisms to increase accountability of policies and practice.

    The Lead agencies responsible for implementing actions related to these recommendations are:

    • Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG)
    • Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ)
    • NSW Ombudsman
  • 2. Improving data collection and reporting

    This theme relates to:

    • A co-designed mechanism for the collection, analysis, and reporting of the department’s administrative data relevant to Aboriginal children and young people

    The Lead agencies responsible for implementing actions related to these recommendations are:

    • Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ)
    • NSW Children’s Court
    • Judicial Commission of NSW
  • 3. Better casework policy and practice

    This theme relates to:

    • Mechanisms to drive better casework policy and practice
    • Increased training and tools around working with Aboriginal children and families to support better casework practice
    • Expanding existing best practice models, programs, and tools
    • Co-designed, best practice programs aimed at improving practice and engagement with Aboriginal children and families

    The Lead agencies responsible for implementing actions related to these recommendations are:

    • Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ)
  • 4. Enhanced services and supports

    This theme relates to:

    • Investment into early intervention, restoration, legal, and domestic violence support services
    • Co-designed support services
    • Evaluation of existing early intervention
    • Ongoing support to reduce contact of young Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system
    • Mechanisms to better share information

    The Lead agencies responsible for implementing actions related to these recommendations are:

    • Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ)
    • Legal Aid NSW
  • 5. Changing care and protection legislation

    This theme relates to:

    • Reviewing and amending existing care and protection legislation
    • Mechanisms to support greater oversight and accountability into how policies and legislation are used
    • Increased training and specialist support to the Children’s Court of NSW

    The Lead agencies responsible for implementing actions related to these recommendations are:

    • Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ)
    • Judicial Commission of NSW
    • NSW Children’s Court
    • NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)