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Child protection reform

Children and young people have a fundamental right to grow up happy and cared for, to be kept safe from harm and to be supported to fulfil their potential.

On 29 November 2016 the Government of South Australia responded to the findings of the Child Protection System Royal Commission, 'The life they deserve'. 

The response, 'A fresh start', can be found on the Department for Child Protection's website.

'A fresh start' aims to improve outcomes for vulnerable children, their families and the broader South Australian community by proposing extensive improvements to our state’s child protection system.

It responds to each of the recommendations from the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission, but also goes further to develop a broader child development system. This system begins before birth and seeks to avoid children ever needing statutory child protection.

This reform will require a collaborative effort and long-term commitment. Child protection is everybody’s business and parents, carers, communities and non-government service providers all play critical roles. 


The Child Protection Systems Royal Commission conducted a comprehensive investigation into the laws, policies, practices and structures in place for children at risk of harm, including those who are under the guardianship of the minister.

It’s report, 'The life they deserve', was delivered to the Governor on 5 August 2016 and described a system in urgent need of reform, pushed beyond capacity and with critical matters slipping through the cracks. In the report, Royal Commissioner Nyland made 260 recommendations for improvements to the child protection system.

The government’s initial response to the Royal Commission’s findings, 'A fresh start', was released on 29 November 2016. In preparing its response, the government undertook extensive consultation with the non-government sector, government agencies and the broader community to understand the potential impacts of each recommendation.

Visit the Department for Child Protection’s website  for a copy of 'A fresh start' and to view the government’s response to each Royal Commission recommendation.