New Victorian Commission for Children
23 October 2012 at 9:36 am
A bill has been introduced into the Victorian Parliament for a new children and young people's commissioner.
Key children’s organisations and Not for Profits have welcomed the Victorian Government’s move to establishment of a new Commission for Children and Young People.
A Bill has been introduced into State Parliament to replace the existing Office of the Child Safety Commissioner with a Commission that is independent of Government.
The Commission will be led by a Commissioner for Children and Young People and have the capacity for additional Commissioners to be appointed including a Commissioner with specific responsibility for Aboriginal Children and Young People.
The Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge said the new commission will have the power to initiate and conduct investigations into individual cases of vulnerable children and where it believes there have been systemic issues in the delivery of services that affect children’s safety and wellbeing.
Not for profit organisation Save the Children praised the establishment of an independent watchdog with powers to investigate organisations and institutions suspected of endangering children and young people.
Save the Children’s child rights expert Karen Flanagan said it was vital the Commission for Children and Young People could launch its own investigations wherever there are signs of the abuse of children.
“This is a positive step forward for the protection of children in Victoria and it will raise the bar for child protection in schools, kindergartens, businesses and churches,’’ Flanagan said.
“We would encourage the new children’s watchdog to work with the new National Children’s Commissioner to create consistent policies to protect vulnerable children across Australia’s states and territories."
“Victoria’s children deserve to have an independent watchdog to protect and promote their best interests,” Victorian Council of Social Service chief executive, Penny Wilson, said.
"Importantly, the Commission will report directly to Parliament and will include a Commissioner with specific responsibility for Aboriginal children and young people."
The Commission’s Annual Report will be tabled in Parliament and it will have the authority to similarly table the outcomes of systemic reviews. Following the passage of the legislation, it is anticipated the new Commission will be in place in early 2013.