Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Suffer Little Children: New South Wales to introduce new child protection laws

The New South Wales government is to introduce new laws making it easier for authorities to take minors into care.

The laws will allow the Department of Community Services (DOCS) to remove children of families where there is a history of abuse. In what has been widely reported as a possible world first, it would mean parents whose children are removed must prove why they should maintain custody of any other juveniles.

People who have been identified by the coroner or police as being connected to a child's death would also have to prove their fitness to be a parent.

NSW Community Services Minister Reba Meagher, said DOCS figures showed nine cases last year in which children died despite a history of their siblings being removed or put in temporary care.

She said the legislation was an Australian first and possibly a world first in this regard.