Our response to NT Children’s Commissioner Own Motion Investigation Report

2 July 2020

Life Without Barriers' response to Northern Territory Children's Commissioner report.

All children in out-of-home care have the right to feel safe, protected and to live free from harm. 

Life Without Barriers has firm policies and practices in place to ensure staff and carers deliver the high standard of care children and young people deserve and we have a strong legacy of providing positive, safe and quality services for children and young people in the Northern Territory for the past 15 years.

Allegations of mistreatment and abuse are extremely serious and are treated accordingly.

Life Without Barriers is aware of the release of the Northern Territory Children’s Commissioner’s Own Motion Investigation Report into the provision of care provided by two Northern Territory based foster carers from 2004-the present day. During 2006-2009, the carers provided intermittent respite services for Life Without Barriers. Life Without Barriers’ relationship with the carers ended in 2009. As an organisation, we have championed child safety and have a whole or organisation dedicated child safety awareness campaign.

Since 2009, Life Without Barriers has made substantial changes to policies and procedures relating to our provision of care for children, addressing and exceeding the recommendations in the Report. These have focused on implementing best practice approaches and increasing organisational oversight and monitoring. Some examples of these changes are:

  • An explicit code of conduct for child safety which clearly sets out our stance on child safety. This is called ‘We put children first’;

  • Contemporary and evidence informed practices for the recruitment, training and ongoing support for carers;

  • Mandatory training for all foster carers, staff who work with children and human resources  employees on children’s safety, including mandatory reporting of any alleged abuse;

  • Centrally monitored and recording of probity checks for all foster carers and their household members, as well as all employees;

  • Robust procedures for ensuring children and young people in foster care placements can live together harmoniously supported by thorough and considered placement matching to assess a young person’s fit in an existing placement; regular re-assessment; and processes to ensure that young people who may present a risk to other children are only considered for single placements;   

  • Systems and processes to collect, record, store and report on client and carer data, including a dedicated team to provide a central source of critical information, and the implementation of the incident management and reporting system.

Life Without Barriers’ commitment to children and young people is clear – it does not tolerate inappropriate behaviour towards children in its care of any kind, by any person.

Life Without Barriers has a strong culture, policies and practices in place to support all children and young people in its care and it will continue to uphold these policies to ensure children and young people can thrive in safe, caring environments.