The NSW Government will introduce a landmark child protection Bill into parliament this week to streamline court processes for guardianship and open adoption to ensure a permanent home for every child within two years.
Amendments to the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act and the Adoption Act will also give parents and extended family members an opportunity to resolve child protection risks and avoid the removal of children from their families.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said short-term court orders will mean children no longer spend years moving between homes in the out-of-home care system.
“We want all children to know that they have a loving and safe home for life,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“When it is no longer safe for a child to stay at home, we want them to have a permanent home as quickly as possible through guardianship or open adoption. These reforms will help speed up that process.”
The reforms follow a wide-ranging public consultation process led by the discussion paper, Shaping A Better Child Protection System, released in October 2017.
Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward said the landmark reforms pave the way for family networks to support parents struggling to care for their children.
“For the first time ever, we will legislate for families to be offered alternatives such as Family Group Conferencing, giving parents and extended family the opportunity to address child protection risks so that their children can stay safely at home,” Ms Goward said.
“We are also looking to make guardianship easier for families with parents that know they can no longer care for their children and want to ensure their children have safety and security with a loving member of their family.”