Terms of Reference

In late 2009, the Northern Territory Chief Minister and Minister for Children and Families and Child Protection commissioned a Board of Inquiry to conduct a broad-ranging public inquiry under the Inquiries Act into the Northern Territory’s child protection system.

The purpose of the Inquiry was to review the child protection system and to make recommendations to strengthen and improve the system to enable it to meet the needs of the Northern Territory’s children.

Specifically, the Inquiry was to report and make recommendations on:

  • The functioning of the current child protection system including the roles and responsibilities of Northern Territory Families and Children (NTFC) and other service providers involved in child protection.
  • Specific approaches to address the needs of Territory children in the child protection system, including the delivery of child protection services in regional and remote areas as part of the development of the Working Future initiative.
  • Support systems and operational procedures for all workers engaged in child protection, in particular staff retention and training. 
  • Quality, sustainability and strategic directions of out-of-home care programs including support systems for foster parents, carers and families. 
  • The interaction between government departments and agencies involved in child protection, care and safety and non-government organisations and other groups involved in the protection, care and safety of children.

The Inquiry was to consider and, where appropriate, incorporate:

  • Findings and recommendations arising from recent coronials and other recent investigations, reviews and inquiries into the functioning of the child protection system.
  • Child protection issues and developments at the local, national and international level and their implications for the Northern Territory.

The Inquiry was encouraged to draw on the advice and expertise of existing Northern Territory Government advisory councils, as well as other subject matter experts within the broader community.

The Inquiry’s consultation processes were to be conducted publicly, unless people or organisations contributing to the Inquiry requested that their contribution remain confidential.