A recurring theme of the ACT Government is the startling capacity to smugly sleepwalk into atrocity.
The public advocate’s review of the Emergency Response Strategy for Children in Crisis in the ACT highlights that tendency:
Unfortunately, this Interim Report will reveal that unlike the analogy of planning for disasters, when it comes to children experiencing crisis there is little or no forward planning, coordination or building of capacity within the community to respond to these needs. This report investigated a snapshot in time – the specific incidents as directed by the Review, and related case studies – however they confirm that the community preparedness scenario is not the norm for children when experiencing a crisis. There is no early warning supportive response plan, too often there is no suitable emergency or temporary accommodation, and intensive crisis counselling is not readily available, and there is no assumption that they will want to or be assisted to return home. Finally rarely does the community, except kin, close ranks to help these families and their children. They are more likely to be ostracised, blamed or “encouraged” to leave the neighbourhood.
Joy Burch has been censured in the Legislative Assembly today, but really the problem runs much deeper and can be found in many aspects of the administration of the Territory.