Child Protection History

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In the 18th Century Colonisation decimated Aboriginal communities with diseases, alcohol, and dispossession. In the 19th Century Australian colonies developed their own individual legislative mechanisms concerning child protection for their jurisdictions. In the late 19th to early 20th Century there was forced separation of Aboriginal children from their families under policies of assimilation this became known as ‘Stolen Generation.’ (Mary will be talking about) Also in the 20th Century, there was state institutionalisation of children for a variety of paternalistic reasons, they later became known as the ‘Forgotten Australians.’ In the late 20th Century the states gradually delegated their powers in relation to ex-nuptial children to federal court or Family Court of Australia. The states maintained individual jurisdiction for child protection. In 1987 Legislation was passed in NSW called the Ascension of Children or Care and Protection Act. (See hand out for more information) There was an emerging view that it is better to support families and have children safely remain in the family unit than to remove the child. Toward the late 20th Century there was growing evidence that indicated foster care was the preferred model of out of home care over residential care models. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was first developed by the League of Nations in 1924 and was ratified by the UN in 1990. Australia was one of the first signatories. New legislation brings in mandatory reporting. That is that all professionals whose work is associated with children must report instances where they are “at risk of harm”. In 1998 new Legislation in NSW was introduced. The Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act. (see hand out for more information) During this time Aboriginal families and children are overrepresented in the child protection system. In NSW, approximately 2% of the population identify as Aboriginal. The rate of reporting 317.9 per 1000 for...
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