Project Update - December 2017

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Strong Families – Safe Kids is improving how we deliver services to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and provide support to their families.

The implementation of the Strong Families – Safe Kids Project is progressing within five areas of work:

  1. Child Wellbeing and Risk
  2. Cross-Government Coordination and Integration
  3. Improved Practice
  4. Information Exchange and Evaluation and
  5. Out of Home Care Foundations Project

2017 Wrap Up

Consultation and collaboration has been invaluable to the Strong Families – Safe Kids project during 2017.

The success of the redesign of child protection services relies on an integrated system that can respond innovatively and effectively to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and to provide support to families.

This is being made possible with the advice and expertise of children, young people, carers and staff across government and non-government services. This valuable input is directly informing the development of Strong Families - Safe Kids.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been part of the project during the year and look forward to working with you during 2018 as we move into the implementation of the redesigned system.

1.  Child Wellbeing and Risk

Improvements have been made to the Child and Youth Wellbeing Framework (the framework) with valuable feedback we’ve received from a range of stakeholders. We’re now looking into the best way to do some focused promotion of child wellbeing through the release of the framework.

Child wellbeing is a shared responsibility and its success depends on enlisting the support of service providers to champion the framework. The Cross Sectoral Consultative Committee is helping identify and build a partnership alliance to complement the strengthened framework.

A great deal of work has gone into developing a comprehensive outcomes framework that will ensure improvements to child wellbeing can be measured. Consultation on the wellbeing outcomes framework will happen in the first half of 2018.

The other major piece of work underway in this area is on a common wellbeing assessment tool. We are planning an initial trial of the tool with the Department of Education and the Child Safety Service. We’d like to look at opportunities to expand its use to other agencies and non-government organisations as a next stage.

In the Department of Education, Student Wellbeing Teams are working directly with schools and Child and Family Centres to provide additional support to vulnerable students. Since the inception of their positions they have been working with families who have children in multiple schools to support children, which was a service gap before now. The partnership between DHHS and the Education Department continues to grow as the project develops.

2.  Cross-Government Coordination and Integration

Critical to the success of the Child Advice and Referral Service (CARA) is a strong coalition of services who will work together to ensure children and their families get the support they need to be safe and well. Work is underway on the governance model that will underpin CARA and form the basis for a new approach to child safety and wellbeing in Tasmania.

In recent months, there have been a number of targeted consultations with frontline practitioners, team leaders and managers from Child Safety Services and other key government and non-government partners to test key elements of the proposed CARA. As part of the consultation, advice and approval steps for the project, the outcomes of these consultations are being presented to the CYS Strategic Leadership Team and the project’s Steering Committee.

We remain on track for regional briefings early in 2018 where we can provide a detailed update on the model and next steps towards implementation following sign off by these governance bodies.

Intensive Family Engagement Services

We have finalised the request for proposal for four non-government service providers to deliver intensive family engagement services. This is a new service that will work to prevent the imminent separation of children from their primary caregivers. They will generally focus on improving family functioning and skills and will be intensive in nature (up to 15-20 hours per week for approximately 12-20 weeks).

These services will be trialled over the next 12 months, with the results informing the development of a comprehensive, evidence-based model for the continued provision of Intensive Family Engagement Services in Tasmania. We will be able to provide more information about the successful service providers once contract negotiations are finalised.

3. Improved Practice

The majority of new positions funded through the Strong Families – Safe Kids project are now in place and are supporting current service provision as well as assisting in developing practice and preparing staff for new ways of working.

This year, we have employed:

  • Clinical Practice Consultant and Educators
  • Intensive Family Service Team Leaders
  • Child Safety Hospital Liaison Officers
  • Additional Support Workers
  • Additional Child Safety Officers in the flexible pool to bolster frontline services where required
  • Trainers

The following positions will be recruited to in early 2018:

  • Court Coordinators (already advertised)
  • Unit Coordinators
  • Instructional Designer
  • Business Educator

Another major piece of work in this area is the assessment of any legislative changes that may be needed to support new work practices that underpin CARA.

4.  Information Exchange and Evaluation

To further support our frontline staff in their work with children and families a trial of two mobile computing device options has commenced. The devices allow front line staff to make informed decisions during field work with access to the child protection information system in real-time.

The three month trial will finish in January 2018 and be reviewed during February.

5.  Out of Home Care Foundations Project

The Outcomes Framework for Children and Young People in Out of Home Care is the first step in improving care to children and young people because it establishes clear expectations of what successful out of home care looks like. It is now being prepared for public release.

The voices of children and young people with an experience of care in Tasmania have been central to developing the outcomes framework, and we thank them for their contributions and willingness to participate. We also thank the CREATE Foundation, Kennerley, Glenhaven and Key Assets for their assistance in hosting consultation forums.

We’ve also developed a fact sheet that outlines the out of home care outcomes and provides a summary of what children and young people said in their own words. We’ve included some of the things children and young people said about the first domain – being loved and safe.

    “You want to feel loved and be able to discuss your day, and share things that have happened at school,” 16-year-old, Launceston.

    “A home is where you can stay however long you like,” 16-year-old, Hobart

    A place where you feel safe, at home. It’s your safe place. Group feedback, Launceston.

    “When carers are good carers and they look after us they should get to be like our mum and dad and we should never have to leave when you have us under 18 year orders – you should make it that way,” young person, Kennerley, Hobart.

    “If parents do the right thing they should get their kids back,” child, Kennerley, Hobart.

The fact sheet will be available in early 2018.

The indicators for the outcomes framework will be set out in a companion document which is under development and will progress in tandem with work on the quality and accountability framework.

Work has also started on mapping a quality and accountability framework and a future model for foster care. A cross sectoral working group comprising government and non-government agencies is contributing to the design and scope of this work, and consultations are underway with young people, carers and non-government organisations.

If you would like to join a consultation or contribute to the discussion, please contact the project team.

Questions and Comments

If you have any questions or comments related to this update, or to the Strong Families, Safe Kids Implementation Project generally, please direct them to the Project Team at

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