Child Protection Legal Aid Services Review

Child Protection Legal Aid Services Review

Victoria Legal Aid is reviewing our child protection services so that children, young people and parents can benefit from services that are targeted, timely and help reduce the need for future assistance.

Release of our consultation and options paper

Read the submissions to our consultation and options paper.

We released our consultation and options paper and an environmental scan on 28 October 2016.

We then sought input from legal and community sector organisations and the community, and encouraged people to share their views on child protection legal aid services.

Download the Child Protection Legal Aid Services Review – Consultation and options paper (docx, 6.2 MB)

What the review is looking at

The objective of the review is to identify improvements to our child protection services, with a particular focus on:

  • timely and appropriate service delivery
  • better supporting children, especially children at risk of long-term disadvantage
  • greater consistency of service delivery across Victoria
  • improving the quality of services.

The review is looking primarily at the path a client follows in the child protection system, at how services provided at various stages can be improved, and where service gaps may need to be filled.

As part of this, we are also looking at the impact of family violence on child protection, and at the effectiveness of the current service model for particularly vulnerable clients such as children, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander clients, and clients with a disability.

The review is not intended to lead to a reduction in funding for child protection legal aid services but will explore options that result in more effective use of a limited legal aid fund.

The review process

The consultation is following a three-stage process:

  • review of services and preliminary discussions with key stakeholders (completed) – we consulted with over 300 stakeholders, including young people, on issues affecting the review in August 2016
  • call for submissions (complete 21 December 2016): we released a consultation and options paper on 28 October 2016. Submissions to this paper are helping to inform our thinking about which options to take forward.
  • publish recommendations: we expect to make the strategies and actions endorsed by the Victoria Legal Aid Board available in July 2017.

Find out more about the review process

Why we are undertaking this review

Increased demand for child protection services and the consequences of child protection proceedings on families and the community highlight the need for us to get it right.

We are committed to delivering high quality legal services and making the most economic use of a limited legal aid fund.

As the primary provider of child protection legal services, we have an obligation to do all we can to improve the outcomes for the children and adults we assist.

This requires regular review of our service delivery models to ensure services are targeted to the right people, at the right intensity and at the right time.

The Child Protection Legal Aid Services Review is a positive opportunity for us to consolidate what we are getting right, and make necessary changes. Well-designed child protection services will help us resolve disputes quickly and effectively. They play a vital role in keeping children and families safe.

Involvement in the child protection system can have a profound and lasting impact on parents; children and young people. We know from our own research that children in protection are at risk of needing more legal aid help as adults.

We experienced a 20 per cent increase in grants between in the last two years. New laws that introduce rigid time limits on family reunification, combined with the appointment of additional child protection workers to the Department of Health and Human Services, will put further pressure on our services.

More information

If you would like more information or have any queries about this review, please email childprotectionreview@vla.vic.gov.au or call Child Protection Review Project Officer Siobhan Mansfield – (03) 9269 0298.

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