“The goal for us all must be a system that is child focused, community involved, evidence based, locally tailored and providing support for children and families as early as possible.”

Commissioner Mick Gooda

About the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory

The Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory was established on 1 August 2016 by the Northern Territory and Commonwealth Governments in response to serious concerns raised about the child protection and youth detention systems in the Northern Territory.

In the final report delivered on 17 November 2017, the Royal Commission found that in many cases the systems that were designed to keep children and the community safe did the opposite.

It also highlighted the gross overrepresentation of Aboriginal children and young people in government care and within the youth justice system, and emphasised the importance of supporting Aboriginal people, communities and organisations to take a leadership role in designing and delivering the services they need.

So what’s being done?

The Northern Territory Government is taking action and is investing more than $229.6 million over the next five years to introduce reforms to keep children and the community safe.

The Northern Territory Government’s Plan - Safe, Thriving and Connected: Generational Change for Children and Families outlines how whole-of-government action in collaboration with the community sector will deliver historic reforms in the Territory.

How will this affect the community?

We know that services are most effective when they are shaped by the people who use them.

Aboriginal communities, leaders and organisations will play a key role in the delivery of reform.

Working alongside and supporting them will be other members of the community sector as well as both the Northern Territory and Commonwealth Governments.

The new approach will emphasise supporting families earlier to address the issues that lead families and young people into child protection and youth justice.

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The reforms will also improve the operation of the child protection and youth justice systems and ensure that those young people and families who find themselves involved with these systems have a chance to turn things around and make better choices for themselves in the future.

Major reforms include:

  1. Establishment of seventeen Child and Family Centres to connect families to early help and support when they need it and stop families ending up in the child protection system.
  2. Assisting young people who have been in out-of-home care to access and maintain safe and secure housing when they leave care.
  3. Transforming out-of-home care by working with Aboriginal organisations to find and support Aboriginal carers to look after Aboriginal children.
  4. Strengthening youth justice approaches that work to stop future offending.
  5. Replacing Don Dale and Alice Springs Youth Detention Centres with new secure youth justice training centres that are focussed on breaking the cycle of reoffending.
  6. Establishing a Youth Policing division that will take a proactive approach to engagement with young people to stop offending behaviour earlier. The evidence is clear. Early intervention and support for struggling families, and diversionary options for vulnerable young people help to reduce their risk of involvement with child protection and youth justice services. These are the reforms that the Government is putting in place to benefit the entire community

How will we know it’s working?

The Northern Territory Government will report publicly each year on the progress and impact of these reforms.

To learn more about the reforms and the planned approach, keep returning to this website for updates.

Download the Implementation Plan Safe, Thriving and Connected: Generational Change for Children and Families

Download the Overview of the Implementation Plan Safe, Thriving and Connected: Generational Change for Children and Families