My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Child Protection, and it is about another set of unintended consequences associated with the Government’s coronavirus response.
Specifically, I refer to the very serious problem that the traditional arrangements allowing for face-to-face contact between children in state care and their parents have been terminated since March.
Minister: can you clarify whether (and, if so, when) the Government will respond positively to the increasing pleas of many parents (and other relevant child protection stakeholders) for an at least six month extension to be made to Victoria’s normal, two-year-long reunification processes?
In a report on these issues in The Age newspaper on 9 August, journalist Michael Fowler cited a variety of problems associated with DHHS’ attempts, during the COVID period, to manage the new administrative arrangements associated with reunification.
Minister: can you outline what specific actions DHHS has taken since March in order to afford parents the opportunity to continue to adequately prove that they have the capacity to safely and effectively resume directly caring for their children?