The Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT Final Report was handed down one year ago.
The Northern Territory Government accepted the intent and direction of all 227 recommendations, and in April this year committed an additional $229.6 million over five years to implement the reforms outlined in Safe, Thriving and Connected and better support children, young people and families experiencing vulnerability.
This progress report outlines the progress that has been made seven months into the reform journey.
Of the 218 recommendations that relate to action by the Government, 33 are now complete, 47 are well progressed, 122 are underway, and 16 not yet started.
Key achievements include:
- Legislative reform to amend the Youth Justice Act to give Territory Families legal responsibility for youth justice and improve the wellbeing of young people in detention by prohibiting the use of restraints and limiting the use of force, isolation and strip searches for young people in detention
- Completion of $10.48 million significant ‘fix and make safe’ works at Don Dale and Alice Springs Youth Detention Centres, including new and separate education and female accommodation facilities at the Alice Springs Centre
- Design tender released for the development of new, purpose-built youth justice centres in Darwin and Alice Springs
- Increased participation and improved partnerships with Aboriginal organisations and families to increase local decision-making and Aboriginal involvement in the child protection and youth justice systems
- Reforming and streamlining the child protection processes. This includes the One Child One Case approach for frontline child protection staff, which will increase efficiency so that they can spend more time with vulnerable children and their families. Central Intake Services has also been redesigned to better manage the high demand of notifications and provide a more timely service to the community
- Construction of the Tennant Creek Child and Family Centre is underway – the first of 11 new centres to be built across the Northern Territory over the next five years
- Development of a multi-agency Crossover Family Working Group to increase information-sharing and co-ordination of service response provided to young people and their families in the child protection and youth justice systems
- Additional funding of $2.5 million to increase the independent Office of the Children’s Commissioner’s capacity to monitor and audit the child protection and youth justice systems