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Govt to tighten up on safety of children in care

25 July 2000 Media Statement

Government to tighten up on safety of children in residential care


The Government has decided to revoke the power of social work staff to search children and young persons in residential facilities by internal examination.

Moving the the Children Young Persons and Their Families Amendment Bill (No. 3) in the House today Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said that the safety of children, young people, and staff within residences is of paramount concern.

"This Government believes that the powers of search and seizure raise fundamental issues about the rights of children and young people.

The Bill arises out of recommendations from the Regulations Review Committee and will see existing powers of search and seizure, which are provided for under regulation, included in the primary legislation.

"Providing social work staff with the power to search children and young persons ensures the safety of all people in the residence. Children and young people may be searched if it is believed that they are concealing an item that is either unauthorised or potentially harmful.

Steve Maharey said that revoking the power to search by internal examination would not diminish the effectiveness of residential staff.

"This is the most intrusive and potentially the most degrading form of search. Revoking this power will not diminish the ability of the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services to manage departmental residences.

ENDS

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