Family Law Amendment Bill 2023: in our submission we propose that a new body, separate from either state child protection services or the federal family law system, is established with highly qualified experts independently assessing parenting capability and safety of children. This would have the benefit of producing evidence of risk of harm and factors that may influence parenting arrangements to serve the best interest of a child. (February 2023)

Child and Young People in Out of Home Care Issues Paper: our submission to the South Australian inquiry into children and young people in out-of-home care focuses on three key themes: poor outcomes for children and young people; support needs of carers; and public health approaches to preventing child abuse and neglect. (February 2023)


Industry consultation on online safety codes: submission by Australian Child Rights Task Force Working Group, endorsed by Child Wise, Institute of Child Protection Studies and Reset Tech (September 2022)

Inquiry into the educational experiences of children and young people living in out-of-home care: In our submission to the Commission for Children and Young People, Victoria, we acknowledge the difficulties faced by children and young people who are unable to live safely at home. These children face considerable challenges related to trauma and frequently moving to new care placements and therefore new schools. A positive educational experience would help mitigate some of those challenges. It will take major collaboration across education and child protection systems to improve outcomes for these children.

Submission to Workforce Australia Employment Services: Prof Daryl Higgins and Dr Erica Russ, on behalf of the authors of Trends and needs in the Australian child welfare workforce, made a submission to the House of Representatives Select Committee on Workforce Australia Employment Services and its systems. The report concluded that while the demand for child welfare support has grown, the workforce is under-resourced and under-trained, and training has not kept up with the complex challenges of child welfare services.


Response to the National Strategy Advisory Group Consultation paper: Families Australia and Institute of Child Protection Studies made a joint submission to the public consultation paper on the National Strategy Advisory Group Model. The submission has three key messages: ensure that a broad range of government, statutory agencies, and community organisations share the responsibility of creating child safe communities and environments; measure the effectiveness of those reforms; look for an ongoing coordinated national commitment to the implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse.

Enhancing Online Privacy Bill - Protecting children’s data: Our submission to the Australian Government is framed in the context of the United Nations Child Rights Committee General Comment 25 on Rights in a Digital World that argues that the digital environment should be in the best interests of every child. Our submission addresses whose responsibility it is to protect children’s personal information; stresses the imperative to involve children in making decisions about creating safe online environments, advises ongoing scrutiny of the effectiveness of regulatory reforms, and recommends aligning the Bill with international and national child rights principles and strategies, and recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

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.

Raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility (Tasmania): A submission to the Commissioner for Children and Young People Tasmania on raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility. The Child Care Collective, of which we are a member, argues that the underlying needs and disadvantages of children are best addressed through investment in family support, early intervention and therapeutic/evidence-based diversionary services to address the risk factors that lead to offending behaviour.

Raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility (ACT): A submission to the ACT Government on raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 14 years. The Australian Child Rights Taskforce supports the ACT Government’s commitment to be guided by child rights principles. Raising the age offers the opportunity to reframe both the system and the response. Such actions would require building appropriate service system responses, no longer using the legal practice principle doli incapax, identifying gaps in service system responses (especially for children in the middle years), shifting the focus to creating and maintaining safe, stable, and supportive environments, and addressing the underlying causes of harmful behaviour.


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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