New Charter of Rights to empower parents, children and families

Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk has today welcomed the launch of the Charter of Rights for Parents and Families, which clearly sets out the rights of children, parents and families involved in statutory child protection matters.

The Charter was developed through a partnership between the Family Inclusion Network of WA (FinWA) and the Department of Communities (Communities) and is the first in Australia to be formally endorsed by a child protection jurisdiction.

 The Charter outlines the rights of parents and families across six areas:

  • respect;
  • information;
  • support;
  • fair treatment;
  • participation and inclusion; and
  • privacy and confidentiality.

While the safety and well-being of children continues to be the priority in all child protection matters, the Charter recognises parents and families as key people in supporting children’s rights to life-long connection with family, community, Country and culture. The Charter reflects this by:

  • supporting a culture of respect for parents and families;
  • encouraging staff to work with parents and families as equal partners; and
  • listening to and including parents’ and families’ voices when working with children.

In shaping the Charter, FinWA engaged directly with families and communities involved in statutory child protection to ensure the document reflected their experiences.

A key component of that process was understanding the challenges that families face when they interact with child protection proceedings. The Charter seeks to promote their rights and ensure their voices are heard during a difficult time in their lives.

The rights in the Charter are consistent with the Children and Community Services Act 2004. Communities acts in accordance with this legislation, including prioritising the best interests of the child in all child protection matters.

“Parents, children and families have the right to life-long relationships and the Charter of Rights aims to promote this.

“It’s important that all stakeholders work together to maintain the parent-child relationship and help in supporting connections for children in care with extended family, community, Country and culture.

“I would like to thank the Family Inclusion Network of WA for their ongoing advocacy work and continuing to champion the rights of children and families involved with the child protection system.

“I also acknowledge the role played by Debbie Henderson, whose recent retirement from FinWA concludes a distinguished period of leadership, in establishing the Charter of Rights for Parents and Families and seeing it through to completion.” said Minister of Child Protection Simone McGurk