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Western Australia - Concept

Care and Protection (1976 - )

From
1976
Categories
Term commonly found on child welfare records
Alternative Names
  • Care and Control (previously known as, 1907 - 1947)
  • Provisional Protection and Care (later known as, 2004 - )

A child or young person in need of care and protection was the term introduced by the Child Welfare Act Amendment Act (No.2) 1976 (s.3) to describe the law 'relating to the protection, guidance and maintenance of children in need of care and protection'. Previously, the term had been care and control. The Children and Community Services Act 2004 (s.3) uses the phrase, provisional protection and care. This is often just called being taken into care. Being taken into care usually means that a child is taken away from his or her parents and placed into the care of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Department responsible for child welfare. The Department will then make all of the decisions about the day-to-day care and protection of the child or young person. Over time, children have become more involved in that decision-making.

Details

The modern system of out of home care recognises that children or young people who need care and protection are not to blame for their situation. This wasn't always the case. Historically, children and young people who were abandoned were seen to be tainted and liable to influence other 'good' children. Giving evidence to the Select Committee of the Legislative Council into the State Children Act Amendment Bill in 1918 (p.10), Frederick Daniel Good, President of the Justices' Association of Western Australia and a magistrate in the Children's Court, gave an example of these values: 'A girl of 17 who has had two illegitimate children and who is known to be abandoned should not be sent to an institution where other girls who have not been guilty of anything serious are inmates. Goodness only knows what harm an abandoned girl will do in an institution, where other inmates are not as bad as she is.' The issues around the proximity of children who are taken into care for their own protection and children who have been brought into care via the juvenile justice system has been an ongoing factor in placement decisions and influenced the creation of separate government departments for juvenile justice and child welfare in 1994.

The care and protection of children in Australia is regulated by Acts of Parliament. In Western Australia, there have been five significant phases of this regulation:

  • 1800s: Neglected and destitute children were seen as a problem for society. There were different pieces of legislation to regulate the 'protection' of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children. For example, the Industrial Schools Act 1874 and the Aborigines Protection Act 1886.
  • 1890s to 1900s: Child mortality and wide publicity about baby farming led to a broader awareness that neglected and destitute children were victims who needed protection as well as offenders from whom society needed protection. Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children were dealt with through different systems. For example, the Health Act 1898, Health Act 1911, State Children Act 1907, Aborgines Act 1905, and the Child Welfare Act 1947.
  • 1970s: The battered baby syndrome identified in the professional literature in the 1960s once again highlighted the need to protect children. Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children were brought into the same child welfare system and the Child Welfare Amendment Act (No 2) 1976 substituted the term, child in need of care and protection for neglected child.
  • 1994: The Young Offenders Act 1994 repealed the juvenile justice sections of the Child Welfare Act 1947 and moved juvenile justice from the Department for Community Development to the Ministry of Justice. However, both juvenile justice and child protection cases continued to be heard in the Children's Court, under the auspices of the Children's Court of Western Australia Act 1988.
  • 2000s: The care and protection of children is a responsibility that is shared by the community, with parents playing a significant role. National standards for children in out of home care were developed, along with an increased emphasis on family reunification. This approach is enshrined in the Children and Community Services Act 2004.

Publications

Journal Articles

  • Rowe, Leanne, 'The Children's Protection Society: child protection in Western Australia, 1906-1930: towards a Medical-Welfare Model', Studies in Western Australian History, vol. 25, 2007, pp. 116-131. Details

Online Resources

Photos

Health Act 1898
Title
Health Act 1898
Type
Document
Source
State Law Publisher of Western Australia

Details

Report of the Select Committee of the Legislative Council on the State Children Act Amendment Bill
Title
Report of the Select Committee of the Legislative Council on the State Children Act Amendment Bill
Type
Document
Date
19 November 1918
Source
State Records Office Western Australia, Western Australia Votes and Proceedings 1918 Vol.2 Paper A2
Note
p.10

Details

Children and Community Services Regulations 2006 (WA)
Title
Children and Community Services Regulations 2006 (WA)
Type
Document
Date
2006

Details

Sources used to compile this entry: 'The laws - Western Australia', in Bringing Them Home: Human Rights Education Resources for Teachers, Australian Human Rights Commission, 2010, https://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/site-navigation-21; Australian Institute of Criminology Publications, Australian Institute of Criminology, 2014, https://aic.gov.au/publications; Bromfield, Leah; Goldsworthy, Kathyrn & Lamont, Alister, 'History of Child Protection Services', in Australian Institute of Family Studies, Australian Institute of Family Studies, January 2015, https://www3.aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/history-child-protection-services; Information about the Law, https://www.legalaid.wa.gov.au/resources/information-sheets#Protection; Report of the Select Committee of the Legislative Council on the State Children Act Amendment Bill [Document], Date: 19 November 1918; Rowe, Leanne, 'The Children's Protection Society: child protection in Western Australia, 1906-1930: towards a Medical-Welfare Model', Studies in Western Australian History, vol. 25, 2007, pp. 116-131.

Prepared by: Debra Rosser