17 December 2015 - Labor today wholeheartedly welcomed NTCOSS’ vision for a coordinated service system to promote child and family wellbeing.
“We congratulate the NGO sector in working together over an 18 month period to develop a framework that supports the wellbeing of children and families through early intervention and prevention support,” said Lauren Moss.
“The NGO sector has shown real leadership in developing a framework which reflects contemporary childhood development evidence and has considered the recommendations of numerous inquiries and reviews of child protection, health and disability services in the Northern Territory.”
Lauren Moss said Labor is committed with working in partnership with the NGO sector to achieve better outcomes for Territory children.
“Territory Labor recognises the importance of investing in universal health and education programs for all children aged 0-4 years and targeted services for vulnerable children and families to divert individuals and families away from child protection and justice systems,” said Lauren Moss.
“Labor’s Early Childhood policy paper Changing the Future released in August has already committed to re-organising Government’s focus to support each and every child to start school on an equal playing field.
“Establishing a Minister for Children and investing in pre-school programs, parenting support, improved universal health services, increasing our Aboriginal workforce, and NGO support for vulnerable families are key initiatives that Territory Labor will pursue.
“The great enabler for Labor’s policy plans is housing, that’s why Labor has outlined an extensive billion dollar program to improve housing and wellbeing for all Territorians.”
View or download a copy of Territory Labor’s policy paper on Early Childhood here: http://tinyurl.com/pjuee65
View or download a copy of Territory Labor’s policy paper on Remote Housing here: http://tinyurl.com/nq63eq3
Media Contact: Gino Luglietti 0401 119 794
Shadow Minister for Child Protection, Lauren Moss, today welcomed the announcement of a holistic approach to youth at risk initiated by the NT Police, however condemned the comments in recent days by Minister Elferink, using a fear based campaign around child removal.
"It is simply outrageous that the Chief Minister and Minister for Children and Families, John Elferink, are leaping to the removal of children from their families in response to increased anti-social behaviour by children and young people. A fear campaign threatening removal of children does not get to the heart of these issues," Ms Moss said.
"The Minister has previously attributed an increase in child protection notifications to overzealous reporting by Police and yet now wants to use child removal as a threat.
"The care and protection of children should always be first and foremost about the welfare of children.
"If children are at risk, our Police and child protection workers should be attending to that as a part of their normal work; not as part of a political law and order campaign.
"Alice Springs social workers have been calling on the government to support and maintain youth outreach services that help identify children at risk. Instead of a measured and well informed plan all we have seen from the government is a knee jerk reaction to a known problem, threatening to take children into state care.
"Under this CLP government child protection is under increasing pressure with an $8m budget cut and a rapidly growing number of unresolved cases already in the system.”
Ms Moss said the CLP Government cut funding for youth and community services, including youth outreach services operating at night.
“The CLP Government’s cuts to youth services, cut support for school holiday programs, and policy decisions that put front line police officers in front of bottle shops, have contributed and exacerbated this issue,” Ms Moss said.
"It is time for the Minister to stop his grand standing, to take his responsibilities seriously and to address the increasingly slow follow up of real child protection notifications and act on the ‘Growing Them Strong, Together’ recommendations.”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Shadow Minister for Child Protection, Lauren Moss, today said as the Northern Territory’s first ever Children’s Commissioner, Dr Howard Bath, is farewelled as he exits the role, no indication has been made as to who will occupy this role in the future.
“Dr Howard Bath has worked tirelessly over six years for the safety and well being of vulnerable children in the Northern Territory,” Ms Moss said.
“Dr Bath, who trained as a clinical psychologist, has extensive experience which has included consultancy and training to address the needs of children and young people at risk prior to taking on this important role.
“He co-chaired the Board of Inquiry into the Child Protection System in 2009, and has been an exceptionally strong advocate during his time as Children’s Commissioner.
“It is clear that Dr Howard Bath is highly respected by his peers and I thank him for his continuing efforts to make a difference for our most vulnerable Territorians; children.”
Ms Moss said it was the Children’s Commissioner’s Annual Report in November this year which revealed the backlog of over 1,000 unresolved cases in the Child Protection System, a situation which requires urgent attention.
“The Commissioner provides important independent monitoring of the Child Protection System and notifications are on the rise,” Ms Moss said.
“It is important that the CLP Government make clear their intentions for recruiting to the role as a matter of priority, so that the sector can have certainty on this in the New Year.”
Shadow Minister for Child Protection, Lauren Moss, today said the CLP Government continues to fail in delivering responsive and appropriate standards of protection for our children.
“Territory kids are being let down by the CLP Government,” Ms Moss said.
“The most recent example is their failure to ensure the protection of a young woman in the care of the Department, who subsequently became pregnant to an older man who has since been charged.
“This incident has now been referred to Police and the Children’s Commissioner.
“This is the inevitable consequence of the CLP Government’s cuts to the child protection budget, high staff turnover nearing a staggering 25 per cent per annum, allegations of staff bullying, failure to meet agreed standards of face to face contact with kids in care and failure to maintain up to date care plans for all children in the child protection system.
“We also continue to see increasing notifications of child neglect and child abuse with an expected 400 more children requiring care in the next 12 months.”
Ms Moss said it is time for the CLP Government to get its priorities right.
“The CLP Government needs to build on the investment of the former Labor Government in Child Protection to ensure that the Territory does not go backwards in protecting our children,” Ms Moss said.
“The Chief Minister is happy to spend $30 million every year on spin for himself and the CLP Government while Departments and their staff work tirelessly, focusing on the need to reduce child neglect, to protect vulnerable children and to provide appropriate care for children under the care of the Department of Children and Families suffer cuts.
“Territory kids deserve better.”