Inquiry into the Child Protection System
The Inquiry into the Child Protection System has been established by the Northern Territory Government to conduct a broad-ranging public inquiry under the Inquiries Act 1945 .
Written and oral submissions were invited covering any aspect of the child protection system in the Northern Territory.
The inquiry was co-chaired by Professor Muriel Bamblett AM, Dr Rob Roseby and Dr Howard Bath, with the support of a specialist secretariat. An expert reference group was established to provide specialist advice.
Community forums to explain the process were held on 11 to 18 February 2010 in Nhulunbuy, Palmerston, Katherine, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs and Darwin to talk about how the Inquiry will operate and provide an opportunity for the public to raise issues.
Formal hearings were held in the same locations from 18 to 26 March 2010. A number of further hearings were also scheduled into April, May and June.
The board visited a number of Aboriginal communities around the Territory and heard directly from community members.
The board drew on the recommendations of other recent inquiries and coronial hearings; looked at interstate and overseas child protection models; conducted its own research; and sought additional information as required to inform the Inquiry.
The board of inquiry has completed its work and the report was handed to the Chief Minister on 18 October 2010.
The Inquiry into the Child Protection System in the Northern Territory was announced on 11 November 2009 and the Board of Inquiry was appointed on 9 December 2009.
In late 2009, the Northern Territory (NT) Chief Minister and Minister for Children and Families and Child Protection commissioned a Board of Inquiry to conduct a broad-ranging public inquiry under the Inquiries Act 1945 into the NT's child protection system.
The purpose of the inquiry was to review the child protection system and to make recommendations to strengthen and improve the system to enable it to meet the needs of the NT’s children.
Specifically, the inquiry was to report and make recommendations on:
- The functioning of the current child protection system including the roles and responsibilities of Northern Territory Families and Children (NTFC) and other service providers involved in child protection.
- Specific approaches to address the needs of Territory children in the child protection system, including the delivery of child protection services in regional and remote areas as part of the development of the Working Future initiative.
- Support systems and operational procedures for all workers engaged in child protection, in particular staff retention and training.
- Quality, sustainability and strategic directions of out-of-home care programs including support systems for foster parents, carers and families.
- The interaction between government departments and agencies involved in child protection, care and safety and non-government organisations and other groups involved in the protection, care and safety of children.
The inquiry was to consider and, where appropriate, incorporate:
- Findings and recommendations arising from recent coronials and other recent investigations, reviews and inquiries into the functioning of the child protection system.
- Child protection issues and developments at the local, national and international level and their implications for the NT.
The inquiry was encouraged to draw on the advice and expertise of existing NT Government advisory councils, as well as other subject matter experts within the broader community.
The inquiry’s consultation processes were to be conducted publicly, unless people or organisations contributing to the Inquiry requested that their contribution remain confidential.
The scope of this inquiry covers the breadth of child protection issues. This includes the roles and responsibilities of a number of statutory government and non-government agencies in addition to those of Northern Territory Families and Children. This being the case, the board’s approach involves gathering information from multiple sources using a range of methodologies. The key elements of this approach are as follows:
- Public forums - these forums held throughout the Northern Territory (NT) were designed to provide members of the public with information about the Inquiry and to provide an opportunity for attendees to raise issues that they feel should be explored by the board.
- Written and oral submissions - submissions were invited from organisations and individuals with an interest in the child protection system and the wellbeing of children. (Further details on making submissions can be found on the making submissions page.)
- The inquiry board invited a number of organisations and individuals to contribute to the inquiry. In some cases, the board may issue a summons to individuals who are in a position to provide the board with specific information. In some circumstances, individuals may feel more comfortable presenting to the board if they have been summonsed to do so. This can be discussed with the board’s executive officer on 08 8999 6269 or free call 1800 770 543.
- Reference group - the board has established an expert reference group made up of academics, researchers and practitioners from across Australia and the NT. This reference group will be providing specific feedback to the board on methodologies, areas of focus, research and recommendations.
- The board’s own policy and research capacity - the board’s secretariat includes a number of specialist policy and research staff with capacity to co-ordinate the provision of policy advice and research. In addition, the secretariat includes staff members with investigative skills.
- The board will be informed by recent reviews and recommendations of inquiries into child protection systems in other states.
- The board has requested briefings and information from a number of other government and non-government agencies on practice and policy issues it is exploring.
- In order to further inform itself about issues, the board visited all urban centres and a number of remote communities throughout the course of the inquiry and consulted with community representatives. Remote communities, in particular, were invited to request a visit by the board to their community.
- The conducting of case reviews and file audits is an option that the board is considering.
A publishable submission is one that has not been requested by the contributor to be treated as confidential, does not breach relevant legislative provisions in relation to the publication of information that may identify children within section 301 of the Care and Protection of Childen Act (or their families) or otherwise contravene that Act, and does not contain specific allegations, complaints or defamatory comments in relation to individuals or organisations.
Where any submission has not been requested by the contributor to be treated as confidential but contains information which is not publishable, the Inquiry will endeavour to place the publishable text on the website, with the information which is not publishable being 'blanked out'.
- Submission 01 Department of Health and Families PDF (1.0 MB)
- Submission 02 Department of Housing, Local Government and Regional Services PDF (1.1 MB)
- Submission 03 Department of Education and Training PDF (1.2 MB)
- Submission 04 NT Police PDF (4.6 MB)
- Submission 05 Northern Territory Families and Children Advisory Council (NTFCAC) PDF (275.1 KB)
- Submission 05 NTFCAC Appendix 3 PDF (50.8 KB)
- Submission 05 NTFCAC Appendix 4 PDF (124.5 KB)
- Submission 05 NTFCAC Appendix 5 PDF (40.0 KB)
- Submission 05 NTFCAC Appendix 6a PDF (132.1 KB)
- Submission 05 NTFCAC Appendix 6b PDF (42.9 KB)
- Submission 05 NTFCAC Appendix 6c PDF (35.4 KB)
- Submission 05 NTFCAC Appendix 6d PDF (32.8 KB)
- Submission 05 NTFCAC Appendix 7 PDF (1.3 MB)
- Submission 05 NTFCAC Appendix 8 PDF (63.3 KB)
- Submission 06 Law Society Northern Territory PDF (3.8 MB)
- Submission 07 NTFC Care and Protection Training and Development Working Group PDF (1.1 MB)
- Submission 08 NTFC Barkly Region Team PDF (150.5 KB)
- Submission 11 Northern Territory Council of Social Service (NTCOSS) PDF (4.9 MB)
- Submission 12 Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission PDF (3.8 MB)
- Submission 13 Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory (AMSANT) PDF (3.1 MB)
- Submission 14 by Mark Killen, Principal of Acacia Hill School PDF (876.9 KB)
- Submission 15 Centre for Remote Health PDF (317.7 KB)
- Submission 16 Forster Foundation for Drug Rehabilitation Inc. Banyan House) PDF (98.5 KB)
- Submission 17 Darwin City Council PDF (210.4 KB)
- Submission 18 Association of Northern Territory School Educational Leaders (ANTSEL) PDF (312.9 KB)
- Submission 19 Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service Inc. (CAALAS) Welfare Rights Outreach Project PDF (511.0 KB)
- Submission 20 Alice Springs Hospital PDF (2.5 MB)
- Submission 21 Northern Territory Opposition PDF (413.5 KB)
- Submission 22 Mr John Birch SM - Acting Chief Magistrate's PDF (19.0 KB)
- Submission 23 Child and the Family Health team, Palmerston Community Health Centre PDF (139.0 KB)
- Submission 24 NTFC Workforce Development Unit PDF (3.5 MB)
- Submission 25 Northern Territory Treasury and Department of Health and Families PDF (669.7 KB)
- Submission 26 Anglicare NT PDF (1.2 MB)
- Submission 27 Central Australian Women's Legal Service Inc (CAWLS) PDF (286.8 KB)
- Submission 28 NTFC Strategic Projects PDF (772.8 KB)
- Submission 29 Paediatric Department of the Royal Darwin Hospital PDF (659.9 KB)
- Submission 30 Department of Justice PDF (105.7 KB)
- Submission 30 DOJ Attachment 1 PDF (347.6 KB)
- Submission 30 DOJ Attachment 2 PDF (1014.6 KB)
- Submission 30 DOJ Attachment 3 PDF (19.3 KB)
- Submission 30 DOJ Attachment 4 PDF (24.5 KB)
- Submission 30 DOJ Attachment 5 PDF (634.4 KB)
- Submission 30 DOJ Attachment 6 PDF (589.2 KB)
- Submission 30 DOJ Attachment 7 PDF (1.0 MB)
- Submission 31 Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women's Council (NPYWC) Aboriginal Corporation PDF (3.6 MB)
- Submission 32 Jerry Sweeting PDF (253.3 KB)
- Submission 33 Catholic Care NT PDF (282.9 KB)
- Submission 34 Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) PDF (478.5 KB)
- Submission 35 Henry Gray PDF (222.9 KB)
- Submission 36 Leah Crockford and Esther Carolin PDF (36.7 KB)
- Submission 37 Save the Children PDF (903.1 KB)
- Submission 38 Living Water Community Centre PDF (1.6 MB)
- Submission 39 Office of the Children's Commissioner PDF (1.6 MB)
- Submission 40 Danila Dilba Health Service PDF (2.1 MB)
- Submission 41 General Practice Network NT PDF (349.8 KB)
- Submission 42 CPSU - PSU Group PDF (419.1 KB)
- Submission 43 Foster Care NT PDF (572.0 KB)
- Submission 44 Phil Hassall, Caseworker, Central Australian Youth Link-Up Service (CAYLUS) PDF (298.1 KB)
- Submission 45 Relationships Australia Northern Territory PDF (2.0 MB)
- Submission 46 Deborah Morriss PDF (274.1 KB)
- Submission 47 Sunrise Health Service Aboriginal Corporation PDF (183.3 KB)
- Submission 47 Sunrise Health Service Aboriginal Corporation Appendices A and B PDF (1.9 MB)
- Submission 47 Sunrise Male Health Summit Final Report PDF (1.4 MB)
- Submission 48 Dr Clare MacVicar FRACP PDF (265.1 KB)
- Submission 49 Rosalie Howard PDF (95.4 KB)
- Submission 50 Dr Carolyn Maclennan MBCHB FRACP MPH PDF (709.1 KB)
- Submission 51 Kay Gilbert PDF (54.4 KB)
- Submission 52 from Allan Joy PDF (137.0 KB)
- Submission 53 Nettie Flaherty PDF (200.2 KB)
- Submission 54 Aboriginal Resource and Development Services PDF (512.0 KB)
- Submission 55 Anonymous PDF (32.7 KB)
- Submission 56 Kathryn Auger PDF (96.8 KB)
- Submission 57 Anonymous PDF (90.6 KB)
- Submission 58 Geoff Parkinson PDF (44.4 KB)
- Submission 59 Anonymous PDF (40.5 KB)
- Submission 60 Jennie Guinane PDF (163.5 KB)
- Submission 61 Robert Parker PDF (134.9 KB)
- Submission 62 Phil Walcott PDF (49.4 KB)
- Submission 63 Patricia Shadforth PDF (221.9 KB)
- Submission 64 Gerri Grady PDF (56.2 KB)
- Submission 65 Submission Lynne_Boardman PDF (480.8 KB)
- Submission 66 Richard Garling PDF (26.1 KB)
- Submission 67 Susan Carlyle PDF (100.9 KB)
- Submission 68 Marie Land PDF (1.0 MB)
- Submission 69 Lesley Taylor PDF (140.7 KB)
- Submission 70 CAAFLU Aboriginal Corporation PDF (437.4 KB)
- Submission 71 Jay Tolhurst PDF (665.1 KB)
- Submission 72 Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Inc CAAC PDF (4.1 MB)
- Submission 73 Mary Moynihan PDF (131.5 KB)
- Submission 74 Dr Rosalie Schultz PDF (493.8 KB)
- Submission 75 Child Protection Worker PDF (3.2 MB)
- Submission 76 Damien Howard and Jody Saxton Barney PDF (1.3 MB)
- Submission 77 Tangentyere Council Inc PDF (4.3 MB)
Last updated: 25 June 2021
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