The Child Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020

This Bill, passed on 23 March 2021 and given assent on 7 April 2021, amends the Child Protection Act 1999 as follows:

  • By altering the priority of care for children under s5AB(4). It now prioritises adoption (unless the child is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander) over the granting of a long-term guardianship to the chief executive. This amendment still means, however, that a long-term guardianship order or permanent care order to a member of the child’s family (other than a parent) or other suitable person is preferred over adoption. The amendment provides that adoption is the last preference for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children.
  • By creating certain review requirements for children under the care of a long-term guardianship order to the chief executive. It requires that there be a review of the order after 2 years and that review must consider whether permanency for the child would be best achieved by an arrangement mentioned in s5BA(4) which, as stated above, now includes adoption.
  • If a case plan of a child subject to a child protection order granting long-term guardianship is reviewed and consideration is given to an alternative arrangement of permanency for the child under s5AB(4), the findings of that consideration must be reported in the review report.
  • The Bill also includes a technical amendment to the Adoption Act 2009 to allow the chief executive to apply for final adoption orders for a small number of children from overseas.

Amendment to s5BA(4) by inserting the following underlined parts:
(4) For deciding whether an action or order best achieves permanency for a child, the following principles also apply, in order of priority—

(a) the first preference is for the child to be cared for by the child’s family;
(b) the second preference is for the child to be cared for under the guardianship of a person who is a member of the child’s family, other than a parent of the child, or another suitable person;
(c) if the child is not an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child—the next preference is for the child to be adopted under the Adoption Act 2009;
(d) the next preference is for the child to be cared for under the guardianship of the chief executive;
(e) if the child is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child—the last preference is for the child to be adopted under the Adoption Act 2009.

Notes—

  1. See also section 5C for the additional principles that apply for administering this Act in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, including the child placement principles.
  2. For the principles that apply for administering the Adoption Act 2009, including the additional principles applying in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, see sections 6 and 7 of that Act.

Insertion of s51VAA – Particular review requirements for children under long-term guardianship of chief executive

1.This section applies if a long-term guardianship order, granting long-term guardianship of the child to the chief executive, is in force for the child.

2.If the long-term guardianship order was made before the commencement, at least 1 review of the case plan that is carried out under section 51V within the period of 2.5 years after the commencement must comply with subsection (4).

3.If subsection (2) does not apply—
the chief executive must review the case plan under section 51V within the period of 6 months starting on the day that is 2 years after the day the long-term guardianship order was made; and
the review must comply with subsection (4).

4.For subsections (2) and (3)(b), the review must consider whether permanency for the child would be best achieved by an alternative arrangement mentioned in section 5BA(4)(a), (b) or (c).

Note—

  • See also chapter 1, part 2, division 1 for the principles that apply in administering this Act, including—
    section 5BA(4) for the principles that apply in deciding whether an action or order best achieves permanency for a child; and
  • section 5C for the additional principles that apply in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

5.This section does not limit section 51V.

Amendment to s51X by inserting at (1) the following underlined part:

1.The report about the review must include the following matters—

(a) the goals, including the goal for best achieving permanency for the child, in the previous case plan that have been achieved or are yet to be achieved;
(b) any changes to the goals in the revised case plan;
(c) any services provided to the child under the previous case plan or the revised case plan;
(d) the extent to which the living arrangements and contact arrangements under the previous case plan have been meeting the child’s needs;
(e) if the case plan includes actions for helping the child transition to independence—the extent to which the actions continue to meet the child’s needs;
(f) who participated in the review and how they participated, including whether a family group meeting was held and who attended.
(g) if section 51VAA applies in relation to the review and the review considered the matter mentioned in section 51VAA(4)—the review’s findings in relation to the matter.