This question was asked on 16/09/2014. You can read the original contribution here
Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Ageing, representing the Minister for Family and Community Services. Will the Minister advise what policies are in place that regulate when and how police are used for child removals by the Department of Family and Community Services and why it was that heavily armed police from the Operational Support Group were used in January this year to remove eight Aboriginal children from a family in the State’s north?
The Hon. JOHN AJAKA: I thank the honourable member for his question. I am advised that the Department of Family and Community Services [FACS] has taken a number of children into care—due to significant concerns for their safety and wellbeing earlier in the year. FACS has a responsibility to protect children at a significant risk of harm and will remove a child only as a last resort when there are serious concerns for their wellbeing. When confident about the safety of the children, they will be restored to the family—with the Department of Family and Community Services continuing to actively work with the families involved to address issues of concern. For confidentiality reasons I am unable to comment further. However, I indicate to Mr David Shoebridge that it is not unusual for police to accompany departmental officers on duty where there are safety concerns. I understand that New South Wales police release a statement about their involvement in such matters, and any questions relating to this can be directed to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services.