Better Support for Reunification and Contact of Children with Parents

Under COVID-19 restrictions, court-ordered contact between children and their families was suspended in almost all cases without consultation with the Court. The Court has adjourned most cases and is only hearing urgent applications, where contact for children with their family and friends is an urgent matter.

Programs, supports and assessments provided by community services have been cancelled or placed on-line. DHHS has advised that they are gradually resuming some contact but that their resources to do this safely within the guidelines are limited. Anecdotally, GPV has heard that there is still very little physical contact between parents and their children in care.

Changes to the Children and Young Persons Act 2005 (CYPA) that came into effect in 2017 have severely reduced the capacity of the Court to oversee the work of Child Protection, and there is now a time limit of 12 months (or 24 months in exceptional cases) for parents to show that they have addressed the issues of concern and can safely resume their parental role.

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