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Secret files show DoCS visits to at-risk kids have decreased

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THE number of beaten, sexually assaulted or at-risk children receiving intervention from Community Service caseworkers has dropped dramatically in the past year, official figures show.

A Community Services report stamped "Confidential - not for further distribution", leaked to The Sunday Telegraph, reveals the number of children at serious risk of harm who were visited by a caseworker dropped by 13 per cent in 2010.

It comes as a senior bureaucrat has authored a separate internal report which states caseworkers are not visiting children at risk of serious harm because of red tape and a fear of being blamed if the child is murdered.

The problem with child protection isn’t the money, it’s the system itself

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In Victoria, 35 young people aged 12-17 years ended their lives by suicide between 2007 and 2019 – all were entangled in the child protection system. This was the focus of a new report, “Lost, not forgotten”, released last week from the Victorian Commissioner for Children and Young People, which described how these children “experienced multiple and recurring forms of abuse”.

In their short lives, they were reported to child protection 229 times. For most of these children, including six who identified as Aboriginal, reporting began when they were three years old. Some 90% of these reports were ignored – closed at intake or investigation.


Read more: When mothers are killed by their partners, children often become ‘forgotten’ victims. It’s time they were given a voice


Sometimes families were offered community-based support through a voluntary program (called ChildFIRST). But according to the report, what the program offered was “inadequate to meet the complexity of issues identified” by families and, in many cases, ChildFIRST reported them back to child protection.

The commissioner describes this as a “referral roundabout”. While the report looked at Victoria only, these issues are nation-wide. And this isn’t just happening in Australia – a 2014 report in Canada showed a similar problem.

How is it possible child protection in two different jurisdictions have made the same mistakes?

My research shows these are not mistakes. The inaction these kids experience is a systematic ignoring, set up by the child protection model. And that’s why the commissioner’s recommendation to increase resources won’t fix it.

An outdated, reactive system

Child protection relies on community members and professionals (teachers, nurses) to identify and report safety issues for individual children.

While this may offer some benefit to some children, The World Health Organisation identifies how such case-by-case approaches have come “at the expense of efforts to prevent maltreatment occurring in the first place”.

Individualised approaches ignore the magnitude of the problem of child neglect and abuse, and fail to address the underlying causes and contributing factors.

By prioritising case-by-case reporting, investigation and substantiation, the system is resource-intensive and set up to only address the worst cases.


Read more: ‘Silent victims’: royal commission recommends better protections for child victims of family violence


This approach was developed in the USA after Dr Henry Kempe’s landmark 1962 paper, The Battered-Child Syndrome. He and his colleagues used X-rays to visualise broken bones at different stages of healing in children to substantiate their abuse.

Within a decade, the investigation-substantiation model of child protection began in the USA, Canada and later in Australia, supported by the promise medical imaging could help substantiate child neglect and abuse.

But there are three faulty assumptions underpinning this model, which is still used in today’s child protection systems. These are that child neglect and abuse:

  • is rare and can be addressed one child at a time

  • if you look carefully enough you can see it

  • it can be addressed by identifying perpetrators and holding them accountable within the justice system.

Child protection is an outdated, reactive system. We, as a society and as researchers, now understand child neglect and abuse is a common, pervasive social problem.

We also agree neglect, emotional abuse, and exposure to domestic violence are also abuse and can be as harmful to children and young people as physical and sexual abuse. And we have learned visualising physical signs of abuse is complicated, often illusive and usually only possible in the most extreme cases, which are relatively rare.

Young families need more support

Individualised interventions set a severity threshold to justify child protection intervention. This means when a child’s situation is not good, but not yet bad enough, little is done until the violence escalates.

What’s more, justifying intervention is considered necessary because the home is a private domain, under the control of the head of the household.

Abuse isn’t always visible. Marina Shatskih/Unsplash

In many of these cases, the situation for the child’s parents isn’t good either, but this is understood to be their own responsibility. When young parents live in poverty and struggle to provide basic needs for their family, the dominant view is they haven’t worked hard enough, or they’ve made bad life choices.

Yet, children from birth to five years old endure a disproportionate amount of poverty compared with any other age group. Young families consistently struggle with the lack of affordable childcare, social isolation, precarious employment and housing instability.

Most child neglect and abuse isn’t a just matter of poor parenting, it’s a matter of having poor parents.

Overhauling the system

Violence is connected with poor social position and power. Similar to how we’re beginning to understand domestic violence, the roots of child neglect and abuse can be traced to inequities such as socioeconomic disadvantage and “invisible” social and cultural norms that marginalise children and their mothers.


Read more: Nothing to see here? The abuse and neglect of children in care is a century-old story in Australia


Addressing this means shifting tax structures and access to quality nationally funded childcare. It also includes disrupting dominant social beliefs that position children and their mothers with little power.

This includes, for instance, the pervasive belief that the family home is a man’s property, and he should hold power over and privacy within it. This belief underpins the practices of removing children if they are being abused, or encouraging mothers to leave.

Resisting this belief allows us to consider removing the perpetrator of abuse from the home instead of the child or mother.


Read more: Why children in institutional care may be worse off now than they were in the 19th century


A revision of child protection is overdue. Including a system oriented to prevention of child neglect and abuse from a social perspective needs creativity, vision and, importantly, the input of children, their mothers and other professionals who play a substantive role in supporting children’s wellbeing.

We need to start by respecting children as equals within society. We need to recognise and publicly name the hierarchical social structures that decrease the power of women and children.

And we need to develop an infrastructure of support for parents that ensures resources to support families’ basic needs, addresses the exploitation of reproductive labour and the isolation of women and children in the privacy of the home.

Source : https://theconversation.com/the-problem-with-child-protection-isnt-the-money-its-the-system-itself-127111?fbclid=IwAR0GO_9YMf3q3ul6_2RgIclml4PmpPFiZLN1ovn13AhYu6WfFi-MYGWt7Cs

Dealing with dirty child protection workers who lie and mislead the court

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Commencement of private prosecutions

A private individual may also initiate criminal proceedings by way of CAN. The major difference with a private prosecution is that a CAN may only issued by a Registrar. The Registrar issues a CAN by signing the notice. A Registrar will have a discretion not to issue a CAN if the Registrar is satisfied that:

Status Unknown

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Hi everyone, my name is Jess.  I'm new here, and this is some of my story.  I am one of the 500,000 lost, stolen or forgotten Australians thanks to DOCS.

I firmly believe it will be us, the adult survivors of the foster care system who will blow the lid off Pandora's box and all the evil and corruption they constantly cover up.

This is my purpose in life.  I was quite literally born for this!

I was placed in a "private" foster care arrangement at 6 weeks old.
My parents thought they were doing the right thing, my father passed when I was around one  

To a woman my biological mother trusted.  A "sweet" little old lady... an angel on paper who is really pure evil.  A woman who positioned herself in society to have access to the most vulnerable children in the community, by running a non for profit "childcare" for underprivileged and migrant families through the local church.

Children in care sent far away from family fall prey to paedophiles and drugs gangs

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Local authorities are accused of being "recruitment sergeants" for gangs by placing children out of area.

Thousands of vulnerable children are magnets for paedophiles and county lines drugs gangs because councils are sending them away from friends and family, MPs have warned.

Children are being placed in "grave danger" by the very professionals who should protect them, an inquiry by the all Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults found.

NSW child-protection workers 'regularly' mislead court and needlessly take Indigenous kids: report

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A damning review of Facs’ approach to Aboriginal families finds urgent reform is needed. 

Silhouette of little girl holding adult's hand at sunset

New South Wales child protection workers regularly give “misleading” evidence to the children’s court, often take the most traumatic option by removing Aboriginal children – including newborns – from their families, and operate in a “closed system” that needs urgent reform to make it more transparent and child-friendly, according to a new report.

The Family is Culture review released this week is a three-year study of the case files of 1,144 Aboriginal children who entered the NSW out-of-home-care system between 2015 and 2016.

Nothing to see here? The abuse and neglect of children in care is a century-old story in Australia

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Last night’s Four Corners program presented evidence of widespread abuse and neglect suffered by children in the out-of-home care system. Sadly, it was an all too familiar story. The Australian care system has been subject to criticism for over a century.

Children described bullying, harassment and sexual abuse inflicted by other children who share their homes. Children also described adult men preying on and sexually exploiting girls in “resi” or residential care.

There were allegations of 12-year-olds being left without adequate clothing, stable accommodation or sufficient food, abandoned by the agencies that were supposed to care for them. Private, for-profit agencies were accused of financial mismanagement and rorting of taxpayer funds.

Some of the most horrific allegations didn’t make it to air, but were reserved for the digital broadcast available online immediately after the program. This included recent revelations of an alleged rape in New South Wales by UnitingCare staffers who had been entrusted with the care of 13-year-old “Girl X”. The girl died from a drug overdose just weeks before she was due to give evidence against her alleged attackers.

Here is the story from a docs Hitman who couldn't handle anymore and refused to take any more of their work as a psychiatrist...

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Image result for mean social workerTo begin, I just want you to know your words touched my heart. Secondly, my account is a pseudonym (my reason for stating this will become clear as I progress). I work as a psychologist in private practice and had the displeasure of engaging contractually with DOCS over a number years.

In that time I witnessed some of the most unethical and ill informed decision making of my entire career, inclusive of personal vendettas acted out against “difficult” parents. A few years back I refused to take on any more of their clients due to my reports being taken out of context via being cut and paste into departmental documents produced by case workers looking to make square pegs fit into round holes so as to justify their pitiful ass covering decisions and tactics.

Abuse and violence in relationships

Type of protection : Granting release

 

This is a really dangerous myth as it can stop people asking for help when they need it. If you are a victim of violence or abuse you will not be punished for that. BUT it is sadly true that the available support is often not ideal and is not always easy to access.

However, to say its a fact that a victim of abuse will be deliberately punished by the system by having her (and it is almost always ‘her’) children taken away is wrong. If children are removed, it will be to keep them safe. However, its not hard to see how for many victims of violence, this will feel like a punishment. 

Why children in institutional care may be worse off now than they were in the 19th century

Type of protection : Granting release

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s national apology to the victims of child sexual abuse was a moment of reckoning for the government – an admission of the country’s failures to protect children from abuse in institutions ranging from churches and schools to orphanages and foster home.

We too often hear about child protection when there is a scandal or crisis. For young people who grow up in out-of-home care, however, we need to go beyond simply reacting to terrible incidents like these and focus more attention on whether our systems are delivering the outcomes they should on a daily basis and for the long-term benefit of young people.

Rectifying failures of the system time and again

A series of national inquiries has found that hundreds of thousands of children have suffered lifelong consequences due to the failures of the country’s child protection policies.

300 families say child services wrongly accused them of abuse and unjustly stole their kids

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"It’s an epidemic across our nation," one parent told NBC.

Wards of the state: the foster care crisis

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As the demand for foster care grows, the number of carers for children who have been removed from their families is in decline. The foster care system, almost unchanged in a century, is in desperate need of reform, as Kylie Grey investigates.

Almost 20,000 Australian children are living in foster care, removed from their biological parents for their own safety, and as the number of children in need of foster care rises, the number of carers is dwindling.

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