Reviewing Implementation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle New South Wales 2019


This report reviews the progress of the New South Wales Government in implementing the full intent of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle.

This implementation review is conducted on the basis of the best practice approach set out in SNAICC, 2017, Understanding and Applying the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle – A Resource for Legislation, Policy and Program Development and SNAICC, 2018, The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle: A Guide to Support Implementation.

It considers changes in the implementation of the five elements of the Child Placement Principle – prevention, partnership, placement, participation and connection – described in diagram across five interrelated system elements, since the comprehensive baseline analysis SNAICC released in April 2018 (2018 Baseline Analysis). These system elements are legislation, policy, programs, processes and practice.

The review therefore only considers the Child Placement Principle implementation efforts from 1 May 2018 – 30 April 2019.

Key findings of the Implementation Review for New South Wales 2019

Since the 2018 Baseline Analysis, legislative amendments to the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW) (the Act) have been passed without proper consultation with Aboriginal organisations.

These amendments make it easier for children in care to be placed on permanent orders or adopted, risking severing children’s connection to family, community and culture. The goals, principles and outcomes detailed in the new ACMP support increased compliance with the legislated placement hierarchy. This includes the aim “to support practitioners to engage early with Aboriginal families and empower families to shape case planning, identifying tailored priorities and solutions to keep children safe and with their family and community.”

Recent legislative amendments weakened provisions on compliance with the placement element of the ATSICPP, adding mandatory considerations for the Children’s Court before granting leave for an application to vary or rescind a care order. This includes the length of time that the child has been in the care of the present carer, the stability and security of the current care arrangements, and the course that would result in the least intrusive intervention into the life of the child.

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