Media Release: Department of Social Services ignores human rights of children

January 15, 2015


The Department of Social Services has announced that it will discontinue $280,000 in annual Commonwealth funding for a family program run by the Karralika Programs drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre.

Ben Ettinger, the Convenor of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights in the Australian Capital Territory, expressed dismay at the decision.

“Karralika Programs has been providing drug and alcohol rehabilitation services in the ACT and southern NSW region for 38 years,” said Mr Ettinger.

“This is an important program, offering treatment for the whole family and supporting young children to reside with their parents for up to 12 months. Children take part in an early childhood development program and families spend time together to strengthen their relationships. They are supported by a Social Worker and team of Family Case Workers and have access to counselling and other support services.

“This decision has real human rights implications. Australia has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 3 of which stipulates that the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration. The Australian government is obliged to refrain from actions that run contrary to the spirit of the Convention. In the circumstances, it cannot be in the best interests of children to be placed in out of home care merely because of a $280,000 funding cut.”

Media Contact: Ben Ettinger
Phone: 0449 224 272

ACT Family Program Media Release