NT: New Department for Families and Children’s Commissioner

NT: New Department for Families and Children’s Commissioner

Friday 4 April 2008
A new Department of Health and Families and a Children’s Commissioner have been established to support Territory families.

Chief Minister Paul Henderson has announced the comprehensive overhaul to deliver better services for Territorians.

“When I became Chief Minister I said Territory families will be my number one priority – and these changes are all about helping Territory families,” Mr Henderson said.

“I’ve restructured the Departments to provide a greater focus on families – and get real accountability.

“The implementation of Parental Responsibility Orders to hold parents accountable for the crimes of their children would have needed the co-operation of four departments – now it will be just one – that will deliver results.”

The new Department of Health and Families which will be established from July 1 will include a new agency – NT Families and Children.

The agency will support Territory families and children by bringing together a range of services from child protection, foster care, youth support and diversion programs.

The range of new measures being implemented to support families and young people will be brought together in a one-stop shop to help young people at risk get their lives back on track.”

“We have already started the most comprehensive reforms to tackle child sexual abuse, including the recruitment of a record number of child protection workers, more Police and the establishment of a Child Sexual Abuse Taskforce.”

Dr Burns will remain Minister for Health – Marion Scrymgour will be the Minister for Families.

Also today, the Deputy Chief Minister Marion Scrymgour announced the Territory’s first Children’s Commissioner.

“This new role is an important part of delivering our Closing the Gap initiatives to address Indigenous disadvantage,” Ms Scrymgour said.

“I’m proud to announce that nationally respected clinical psychologist Dr Howard Bath will take on that role.

“Dr Bath will be an advocate for protected children – he’ll represent their interests at all levels of government.”

He has extensive experience working with young people, particularly youth with complex needs and challenging behaviours.

Dr Bath has studied and taught in both Australian and the United States and is widely published in the areas of behaviour management, out-of-home care, family preservation, and more recently the treatment of young people with sexual behaviour.

He was the inaugural chair of the Child and Family Welfare Association of Australia.

Source: Ministerial Media Release

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