Historical Forced Adoptions in Victoria: An inquiry by the Victorian Government from 2019-2021 explored the support services and responses provided to people who endured the past policies and practice of forced adoption from 1940s to 1980s. The inquiry also invited community members to share their lived experiences with forced adoption. Prof. Daryl Higgins was invited to offer evidence from the perspective of service system providers.


Child Safe Standards (PDF, 93KB): submitted to the ACT Government (February 2020) which is developing legislation to make it mandatory for organisations engaged in child-related work to comply with Child Safe Standards. Our submission recommends: compliance by all government departments and services that work with children; broader commitment to community education; and support for oversight by ACT Human Rights Commission.

Review of Age of Criminal Responsibility (PDF, 617KB): submitted to the Department of Justice, February 2020. We contributed to the submission developed by the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria for the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) on raising the age of criminal responsibility to 14 years. Our input highlighted the need for appropriate empowerment of children and young people and respect for their abilities, rights and capacities. This review was endorsed by all state youth peaks.

Young Australians and the response to COVID-19: submitted to the Australian Government Senate inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic, May 2020. Written with the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC). We argue that young people are the solution to our long-term economic wellbeing, and we call for a guarantee that they will be a priority focus of our economic recovery in response to COVID-19. We also call for investment in job creation through infrastructure projects and industry partnerships and for collaboration with young people to develop innovative new approaches.

Towards A National Approach to Child Safety and Addressing Violence Against Children: submitted to Australian Parliamentary Inquiry into Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence (July 2020). Our submission to the inquiry argues that the voices of children and young people with lived experience must be elevated into policy, program and service delivery along with other key stakeholders. Our points support a submission by Families Australia, the peak policy and advocacy NGO for families. 


National Public Register of Child Sex Offenders: submitted to Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, January 2019. We do not support the establishment of a National Public Register of Child Sex Offenders as it would not enhance community safety and protect children from sexual abuse. Instead, we encourage the implementation of the strategies recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Review of the Victorian Child Safe Standards: submitted to Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services, February 2019. Our recommendations include: further resources in community education and capacity building for child safety require; measurement of the effectiveness of child safety reforms; replacing the Victorian Government Child Safe Standards with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.

Adoption Reform: Dispensing with Consent: submitted to Community Services Directorate ACT, March 2019. Our submission draws on our understanding of the impact of past adoption practices upon children, parents, family and community where, in particular, processes have failed to require informed and voluntary consent. Many of the practices have in fact justifiably been described as “forced adoption”. Our recommendations are built on our belief in a child’s right to information and knowledge, and in the right to resume or continue ongoing contact with their birth family.

Review of Government Service Provision: submitted to Productivity Commission: What works – Protecting Children’, March 2019. We outline the need for more careful planning, more rigorous measurement and monitoring of progress and outcomes. We also outline the need for a national approach to child safety and child protection which we argue are critical aspects of creating safe environments for children and young people – both areas need to be included in any conversation about service provision.

National Action Plan for Health of Children and Young People 202030: submitted to Australian Government Department of Health, March 2019. We suggest a coordinated strategy for broader consultation with education, child protection and child safety sectors, drawing on the  leadership provided by the health sector in developing evidence-based approaches to improving the health, wellbeing and safety of Australia’s children and young people.

Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System: submitted to Victorian Government, July 2019.  It is our view that mental health outcomes are best addressed using a broad coordinated public health approach alongside safety, protection and health and wellbeing as part of a broad systems approach designed to build wellbeing for children, young people and their families.


Inquiry into Local Adoption: submitted to House of Representatives, Parliament of Australia, May 2018. There is no empirical data or theoretical rationale to develop local adoption as a pathway for stability/permanency for children in the out-of-home care system. We do not support removing children at risk from their families – we do supportoffering treatment, parenting supports, and respite to parents to help them care for their childrne; recruitment, training and support for permanent carers; and ‘mirror families’ with highly trained carers and mentors who provide in-home or out-of-home care placements to entire families.

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