The Yoorrook Justice Commission - Child Protection

The Yoorrook Justice Commission (the Commission) has been established by the Victorian Government and is the first formal truth telling process into ongoing injustices experienced by First Nations peoples of Victoria.
The Commission recently concluded hearings into First Nations peoples' experience of the Child Protection system. Key people from the Department of Families Fairness and Housing who have been heard included:

  • Lizzie Blandthorn, Minister for Child Protection and Family Services.
    Argiri Alisandratos, Acting Associate Secretary, Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.
    Raylene Harradine, Deputy Secretary, Aboriginal Self-Determination and Outcomes, Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.
  • Adam Reilly, Executive Director, Wimmera South Region Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.

Yoorrook public hearings can be accessed at:


A number of key issues emerged from the hearings that are of interest to carers:

  • The Minister formally apologised for the harm caused by past practices to the families of First Nations people.
  • Commissioners spoke of the need for Aboriginal self-determination in the child protection system which must involve more than the transfer of responsibility of an under resourced and failing system.
  • DFFH is currently undertaking a review of the permanency provisions in the Children Youth and Families Act 2005 with concerns expressed that time limited statutory orders don’t allow enough time for families to access services to support family reunification.
  • DFFH has recently established the Aboriginal Self-Determination Division to manage the implementation of the Commission’s recommendations.
  • There was discussion about how the issues that were being identified for First Nations people are relevant to all children in care and the possibility that Yoorrook recommendations might flow through to the broader Child Protection system. But Commissioners were very clear that their focus was primarily on First Nations children and families.


It is expected that the Commission will report on child protection issues by the end of August 2023.

The Commission will:

  • Establish an official record of the impact of colonisation on traditional owners and First Nations People,
  • Develop a shared understanding among all Victorians of the impact of colonisation, and
  • Make recommendations for system reform and practical changes to laws, policy and education.