MEDIA RELEASE

Uniting Church welcomes NSW Government announcement to overhaul residential care

Thursday 22 September 2016

The Uniting Church in Australia Synod of NSW and the ACT today welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Family and Community Services, Brad Hazzard to overhaul residential care.

Earlier this month The Uniting Church announced a full and independent Synod wide review into the operations of the Church’s Out-of-Home Care (OOHC) services.

The Church’s agencies Uniting and Wesley Mission who deliver these services welcomed the independent review.

Through these services, the Church cares for some of the most vulnerable children and young people in our community. The independent review is looking at current systems and processes in its OOHC services.

Rev. Dr Andrew Williams, General Secretary of The Uniting Church in Australia Synod of NSW and the ACT said, “The review will be a transparent process. The purpose is to assess the adequacy of existing governance arrangements and whether all children in the care of Uniting and Wesley Mission’s OOHC services are safe and being cared for appropriately.”

The review will consider the feasibility of continuing the provision of OOHC on the current basis and alternative options that can be considered.

Christine Nixon APM, the former Victorian Police Chief Commissioner, has been appointed to oversee and govern the review.

It will assess the quality of OOHC services of the Uniting Church in NSW and ACT, including models, processes, governance and risk mitigation.  

Given the size and scale of the Church’s services in this area the review will also make recommendations around viability, improvement and alternative options to the current model of OHCC services. 

Christine Nixon will be supported by Conjoint Professor Martin Cohen, School of Medicine and Public Health (Newcastle University) who will examine how staff can be better equipped to work with vulnerable children and young people. 

Any recommendations relevant to addressing the existing systemic issues will be shared with the community including Government and other OOHC service providers to improve outcomes for all children in state care. 

The Church’s independent review and final report is expected to be completed in early December 2016.

Media contact: Lisa Sampson, The Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of NSW and the ACT (M 0414 947 000) E:  lisas@nsw.uca.org.au