Where we are up to
The Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic) now includes this statement of recognition:
Historically, the child welfare and criminal justice systems in Victoria were not clearly differentiated. As a result, children often experienced historical care and protection applications made by the State as criminal proceedings, and care and protection orders made by courts were recorded by the State on criminal records.
The recording of relevant historical care and protection orders on criminal records occurred in cases where the child had not committed a crime, or been convicted or found guilty of a criminal offence, and in many instances before the child had reached the age of criminal responsibility. In many cases, crimes were committed against a child and instead of the perpetrator being held to account, the child was subject to a historical care and protection order, despite the child not having committed any crime. This has led to adverse lifelong consequences for many of those children.
The Parliament recognises that Aboriginal children were disproportionately impacted by historical State welfare policies. As a result, Aboriginal children were also disproportionately affected by recording practices of the State.
Prior to 1992, there was no clear distinction between welfare and criminal court proceedings. As a result, children often experienced historical care and protection applications made by the State as criminal proceedings, and care and protection orders made by courts were recorded by the State on criminal records. These convictions would resurface during background checks on members of the Stolen Generations and other children taken into care.