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This year is shaping up to be yet another busy year, with the potential for significant and somewhat remarkable change to our work.
In April, I tabled two important special reports in Parliament. The first was my Review of the NSW Child Protection System: Are Things Improving? This report was my second report following the introduction of the Keep Them Safe reforms and found that while there had been some encouraging developments, including more face-to-face contact, increased case worker numbers in some areas and improvements to practice and reporting, still more needs to be done to improve the protection of children in NSW.
The second report was made in my capacity as Convenor of the NSW Child Death Review Team, focusing on the Team’s research into the causes of death of children with a child protection history over a 10 year period 2002-2011.
Both reports highlighted very important issues and also demonstrated the strong link between my office’s community services responsibilities and the work of the Child Death Review Team.
We are looking forward to the establishment of a new Aboriginal Deputy Ombudsman position within my office, which is due to commence 1 July 2014.
The new Deputy Ombudsman (Aboriginal programs) will take a leading role in monitoring and assessing designated Aboriginal programs in NSW and will promote improvements to the performance, accountability and compliance of government agencies delivering relevant services and programs to Aboriginal communities.
This position will allow my office to continue its work in strengthening Aboriginal communities in NSW and sends a strong message about improving the circumstances of Aboriginal people. I am very pleased that my office is involved in supporting this important and innovative initiative.