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07/14/2015 12:00:00 AM


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Reilly, James

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Bills

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Children First Bill 2014

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Report and Final Stages

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Children First Bill 2014\Report and Final Stages
Bills\Children First Bill 2014\Report and Final Stages

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Children First Bill 2014

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Report and Final Stages

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Senator


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Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy James Reilly)

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Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy James Reilly)

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James Reilly

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Snippet Contents:

Section 12 allows the agency to establish and maintain a publicly available register of non-compliance. It also sets out the criteria by which a non-compliance notice may be removed from the register, namely, on receipt by the agency of a child safety statement or the agency being satisfied that the statement is no longer required. Amendment No. 1 proposes a new subsection (10) to provide that a provider who is served with a non-compliance notice is liable to be inspected by child protection staff of the agency. The new subsection (11), which is also proposed to be inserted by the amendment, provides for a criminal sanction for a provider of service which continues to be on the non-compliance register for longer than 30 days. I will address both these together.
I have been advised that in order to provide for a criminal sanction in a legally sound manner, the Bill would have to provide for very significant operational complexity, including the operation of an inspection regime. After detailed consideration of what an inspection regime would involve, it was decided not to include a criminal sanction. It is my Department's view that introducing an inspection regime would divert significant Child and Family Agency resources away from front line, core child protection work and, therefore, I do not propose to accept amendment No. 1. I understand and share the Deputy's concern that there should be full compliance with the requirement, that providers of relevant services prepare and publish a child safeguarding statement. I expect parents will be a significant ally in this respect and I hope it will become the norm that parents demand that services attended by their children, in both public and private sectors, will, where required by the legislation, have a fully up-to-date child safeguarding statement.
The matter will be kept under review and I will be prepared to revisit the issue if it transpires, following commencement of the legislation, that providers of relevant services fail to fulfil their statutory requirements. Until then, I cannot justify the significant diversion of resources from front line child protection work which would be required for the implementation of the Deputy's amendment.