Page 1289 - Week 04 - Thursday, 5 May 2022
the year. Throughout 2020-21, Children, Youth and Families has undertaken significant detailed analysis of the processes surrounding cultural plans and the way in which these processes impact the quality of cultural planning for young people in out of home care, with a focus on improving quality. This was a significant area of feedback from the Our Booris, Our Way review, which highlighted that the existence of a plan is not particularly helpful if the plan itself is not of high quality and meaningful for the child or young person.
In August 2021, the Children, Youth and Families Cultural Panel commenced operation, with all cultural plans being reviewed by the panel. The time line for commencement of this panel was impacted by COVID-19 service impacts and the availability of suitably qualified individuals. (Extension of time granted.)
The focus of the panel is the quality of cultural plans, ensuring that the plans tell the family’s story of their Aboriginality, and that all sources of the plan are documented and ensure connection, participation, partnership and placement. This has delayed some finalisation processes but has improved the quality of the outcome. In parallel, there has been a review of how staff record cultural plans on the child and young people record information system, otherwise known as CYRIS, resulting in a changed process and plans for further improvements.
Data from the snapshot report shows that placement types within out of home care continue to remain relatively stable, with most children and young people in kinship placements as of 30 December 2021. We continue to support children, young people and their families through prevention services with a renewed focus on supporting families with complex needs to prevent entry and/or re-entry to care.
In the first half of 2020-21, 50 children and young people received a service from Uniting preservation services. In 2021-22 this has increased to 62 over the same period and, of these, 19 were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people who have received Uniting preservation services since 2015-16, 89 per cent had not entered out of home care three months after commencement of service, and 64 per cent had not entered out of home care 24 months after commencement of service.
In the first half of 2021-22, 16 children and young people who were in out of home care became subject to a finalised enduring parental responsibility or adoption order, a significant increase compared with the year-to-date figure for the last two years. As of 30 December 2021, there are 124 children and young people with a permanency order.
As shown by the figures reported in the snapshot report, over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in out of home care continues to require a focused effort to reduce entry into care.
Equally important is the need to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people remain connected to their family, kin and country. The Community Services Directorate Cultural Review Panel continues to meet fortnightly to review cultural plans, with any outstanding plans referred to the panel to ensure that cultural needs can be incorporated into individual case plans.