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About us

The Commission

The Commission for Children and Young People has been established to promote continuous improvement and innovation in:

  • policies and practices relating to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people generally, and in particular those who are vulnerable
  • the provision of out of home care services for children.

The Commission acts with independence and impartiality, demonstrating integrity and respect.

Read our strategic plan for 2016-2017 (143kb, pdf)

Establishing the Commission for Children and Young People

In October 2012 the Minister for Community Services the Hon Mary Wooldridge MP announced the government's intention to create a Commission for Children and Young People.

The Commission for Children and Young People Act 2012 provides for the role of the Commission.

The Commission commenced operation on 1 March 2013 as an agency independent of government able to table its annual report in Parliament along with the outcomes of any systemic reviews initiated by the Commission.

The Commission is led by the Principal Commissioner and the Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People.

While the Commission replaces the Office of the Child Safety Commissioner (OCSC) some features will be retained. These include:

  • a strong voice for promoting the safety and wellbeing of children
  • monitoring out of home care services
  • annual review of the Working with Children Act 2005
  • undertaking inquiries into the deaths of children known to child protection.

Read about Our commissioners

Our core functions include:

  1. Providing advice to Ministers, Government Departments, health services and human services relating to the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable children and young people.
  2. Promoting the interests of vulnerable Victorian children and young people.
  3. Conducting inquiries into service provision or omission in regard to:
    • children who have died and were known to child protection at the time of their death or 12 months before their death
    • the safety and wellbeing of an individual or group of vulnerable children and young people
    • a health service, human service or school where there are persistent or recurring systemic concerns.
  4. Monitoring Victoria's out of home care system and promoting child inclusive decision making.
  5. Monitoring and reporting on the implementation and effectiveness of strategies relevant to the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable children and young people.
  6. Promoting child-friendly and child safe policies and practices in Victoria.
  7. Providing advice to the Minister about child safety as requested.
  8. Reviewing and reporting on the administration of the Working with Children Act 2005 and educating and informing the community about the Act.
  9. Any other functions given to the Commission by the Act or any other Act.

For more detailed information about the Commission's functions, see Legislation and Policy

Our role

The Commission brings together 30 experienced and committed full time and part time staff, who aim to be at the forefront of activity to improve the lives of Victoria's children and young people.

We are always keen to identify the views of children and young people, parents, carers, professionals and the broader community, through consultation at events, forums and workshops.

The Commission is structured to deliver on its key functions.

Policy, Research and Communications

  • Undertakes policy and legislative analysis and provides advice on a broad range of public policy issues relevant to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people.
  • Engages in research partnerships with academic institutions, research organisations, sector peak bodies and community service organisations.
  • Undertakes communications activities relevant to media monitoring and support, publications, social media, website content, speech preparation and community engagement.

Inquiries and Systemic Reform

  • Conducts child death and other inquiries to influence positive change and promote improvements and innovations in all areas relating to Child Protection and more broadly across the service system.
  • Engages with families, departments and community organisations to invite them to share their insights, perspectives and reflections about the services the child and family received.
  • Analyses service provision and publically reports on any identified trends, patterns or themes emerging from inquiries and promotes learning from inquiries to contribute to system reform.

Monitoring Programs and Services

  • Monitors the performance of out of home care services, including how effectively vulnerable children and young people are participating in the making of decisions that affect them.
  • Analyses the quality and effectiveness of programs and services for vulnerable children and young people.
  • Undertakes regular, systematic, independent reviews and reports on key themes and issues relevant to safety and wellbeing.
  • Listens to the voices of children in out of home care and in youth justice centres.

Commission Review Committee

The Commission has established an internal review committee to consider the findings of each inquiry and review undertaken, and to make recommendations to government for systemic reform and action, which will be monitored. The Commission Review Committee (CRC) aims to maximise an integrated approach to learning and reflective practice, and align monitoring and policy analysis activity underway in the Commission.

The CRC is chaired by the Principal Commissioner, and draws upon the great depth of knowledge located within the Commission. A broad range of subject and practice experts will be consulted by Commission staff during the investigative phase of the inquiries, and on some occasions will be invited to meet with the Committee as required.

The Principal Commissioner intends to convey relevant CRC decisions to the Children's Services Co-ordination Board (CSCB), and in turn seek progress reports from the CSCB on the implementation across government of relevant recommendations arising from inquiries and reviews. The recently established CRC has already considered over 20 cases and formulated recommendations for government action.