New Charter of Rights empowers children and families involved in child protection system

New Charter of Rights empowers children and families involved in child protection system

by Freya Lucas

September 15, 2021

Western Australia has a new charter of rights for parents and families, which aims to improve outcomes for all those involved in WA’s child protection system.


Developed by Family Inclusion Network of WA (FinWA) in partnership with the Department of Communities, the charter outlines parents, children and families’ right to life-long relationships with each other being formally recognised, while the safety and well-being of children remains paramount.


The Charter is the first in Australia to be formally endorsed by a child protection jurisdiction, and covers rights across six areas, namely: 


  • 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. The Department of Communities acts in accordance with this legislation, including prioritising the best interests of the child in all child protection matters. 


To view the charter, please see here