What's happening

The ACT Government is changing child, youth and family services. It aims to strengthen families and keep children and young people safe and connected. Updating the Children and Young People Act 2008 (the CYP Act) is one part of this plan for reform.

Why does the CYP Act need changing?

The CYP Act is one of the ACT's largest and most complex pieces of legislation. Since it began in 2008, it has been updated many times, making it more complex and difficult to understand.

Over the last ten years, advancements in child protection and family support across Australia have also happened. As a result, the community's expectations of government and how human services are delivered have changed.

Feedback from reviews and consultations has also told us the CYP Act needs to change.

What are the key focus areas of this reform?

The review of the CYP Act will happen over 2 stages, prioritising children and young people’s safety, welfare and wellbeing. It will also enable the system to provide earlier support when needed.

Stage 1 amendments focus on:

  • reducing operational barriers to good child protection practice
  • taking actions to end the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the child protection system.

Stage 2 amendments focus on:

  • promoting shared responsibility for child protection through collaborative information sharing and new mandatory reporting laws
  • empowering children by strengthening their rights and voices in decision-making
  • enabling diversion from the statutory child protection system into earlier support services
  • delivering more equitable, transparent and accountable decision-making processes
  • addressing the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and families in the child protection system.

The proposed changes across both stages will deliver significant, tangible and positive change. This will benefit children, young people, families, carers and workers involved with the ACT child protection system.

What has informed this reform?

These reforms are based on evidence and considerable past stakeholder feedback on the need to shift the system's focus to early support. This will empower children, young people and their families to achieve positive life outcomes and ensure long-term wellbeing for our community.

Previous consultation with the community and key stakeholders on key parts of this reform also happened. This included external merits review, embedding the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle in legislation and a charter for parents and families.

Agreed and supported recommendations from a range of reviews, inquiries and reports, both at the territory and national level, along with local and national strategies, have also driven this work.

The proposed legislative reforms are informed by: