The Australian Children's Contact Services, the founding organisation of Children's Contact Services in Australia, is campaigning that government regulation be enacted for the accreditation of all CCSs.
This campaign is based upon the need for the provision of safe, qualified and accountable CCS service provision to vulnerable children and their families. At present, privately operated CCSs function under no oversight or practice requirements and are not accountable to any authority should clients have issues and concerns regarding the service provided.
ACCSA receives emails from clients about the practices of some private services on a regular basis but is neither empowered nor resourced to be of assistance in these matters. The association is also receiving communication from family law practitioners who are concerned about child safety and their own liability should they refer to a CCS that is not accountable.
Government Funded Services
- There are 65 government funded CCSs in Australia. Each of these 65 services are required to operate according to:
- These requirements establish baseline administrative and operational standards which include client access to a formal complaints procedure which may be administered by the federal government.
- Funded services may have their funding withdrawn if they fail to comply with their administrative and practice guidelines
- Funded services are eligible to apply for membership of ACCSA.
Privately Operated Services
- There are more private services operating in Australia than funded CCSs.
- Each privately operated CCSs functions under its own model of practice, including staff qualification requirements, risk assessments, staff to family ratios, security of venue used and client confidentiality protocols
- Private services function under no government oversight
- There is no accreditation system for CCSs in Australia
- There is no authority to which clients can lodge complaints regarding the service provided by a privately operated CCSs
- ACCSA is not resourced or mandated to assess the quality of service provided by a privately operated CCS or investigate any complaint regarding a privately operated service
- Privately operated CCSs are not eligible to apply for membership of ACCSA i.e. No privately operated CCSs is an ACCSA member.
ACCSA recommends referencing the ACCSA CCS Checklist prior to making any referral to a Children’s Contact Service
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