Term Paper: Australian Human Services: Child Protective

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Australian Human Services: Child Protective Services

Child protective service programs in Australia are a mix of state, territory, local, and national level laws and guidelines, which often leave children underprotected, despite significant overlap in scope and intention among these various governmental entities. This is largely due to the fact that child protection laws vary across the country. "Australia has eight different systems in a country of some twenty million people" (Liddell et al., 2007). Therefore, it is critical to recognize that there is no standardized national response to child abuse. Instead, "statutory child protection is the responsibility of State and Territory Governments; however, Australian Government funded services that focus of prevention and early intervention aim to complement State and Territory Government services" (Bromfield & Holzer, 2008). Moreover, while there is not a fixed national policy regarding Child Protective Services, the various jurisdictions in Australia have adopted similar positions on critical issues in child protection (Bromfield & Holzer, 2008). Moreover, legislation is similar in most territories, so that the thresholds for behavior that constitutes abuse and behavior that constitutes negligence are similar. However, there is some difference in how they label children in need of protection and children at risk, which result in substantive differences in the treatment of at-risk children, not just procedural differences (Bromfield & Holzer, 2008). These differences appear to be exacerbated at local response levels, so that different at-risk children and families may receive very different levels of help and intervention depending on where the intervention takes place.

The distribution of Australia's population has an interesting impact on the provision of child protective services in the country. The vast majority of children live in urban settings and child protective services are targeted towards these children. However, there are a number of children that are in rural settings, and many territorial and local governments do not have sufficient established resources to monitor the health of these children. Furthermore, there is a minority indigenous population whose child service needs may differ dramatically from the rest of society. Given the historical impact of intervention in aboriginal families, it is critical to keep in mind the potential impact of any interventions.

One of the interesting aspects of child welfare services in Australia is that there is significant variation between areas. "Substantiation rates vary widely between the states and territories; either in whether they are relatively stable (as in Victoria, Western Australia, and South Australia ) or whether they vary considerably from year to year (as in the other jurisdictions). The rates vary enormously between jurisdictions (WA recording a low of 2.3 in 2004-2005, Queensland recording a high of 14.1 in that year). Rates also vary by type of abuse" (Liddell et al., 2007). Whether this is due to an actual difference in occurrence or in how the various areas investigate and substantiate abuse is not yet known. However, there are consistently higher rates of substantiation in indigenous populations, indicating that indigenous children are at greater risk of being abused or that the child welfare system is still failing to account for cultural differences in child rearing between the indigenous population and the majority population.

Regardless of location, it is clear that there is high demand for child protective services. According to Bromfield and Holzer, in 2007 there were 266,745 reports to statutory child protection services nationally, which represented almost double the number of reports seen in prior years (2008). Furthermore, a significant portion of those reports was substantiated, so that the child was determined to be in need of some type of services. The level of services needed varied tremendously, but by June 2006, 27,188 children were formally placed outside of their homes (Bromfield & Holzer, 2008). An additional 12,810 children were admitted to orders of protection during the 2005-2006-year (Bromfield & Holzer, 2008). These short-term children place a burden on the system because it must have available housing for those children as well as ensure consistent housing for long-term placements.

Introduction of children into the child protect services department of the relevant state or territory can occur in a variety of different ways. First, children can become involved with child protective services because of police reports, reports of suspected abuse by mandatory reporters, and reports from non-mandatory reporters. Depending on who responds to the initial allegation of child abuse, it may take different lengths of time for the child to become involved with child protective services. Moreover,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Australian Human Services: Child Protective.  (2013, March 27).  Retrieved June 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/australian-human-services-child-protective/7790997

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"Australian Human Services: Child Protective."  27 March 2013.  Web.  19 June 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/australian-human-services-child-protective/7790997>.

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"Australian Human Services: Child Protective."  Essaytown.com.  March 27, 2013.  Accessed June 19, 2019.