Page 1423 - Week 04 - Thursday, 5 May 2022

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Work on the Best Start Strategy was paused briefly in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is currently being finalised by the Community Services and Health Directorates, in close consultation with Canberra Health Services and the Education Directorate. This work is also informed by consultation with people with lived experience.

The Best Start Strategy is projected for launch in late July 2022 with an Action Plan to follow thereafter.

Children and young people—services connectivity
(Question No 750)

Mrs Kikkert asked the Minister for Families and Community Services, upon notice, on 8 April 2022:

(1) In relation to the feedback about the need for a better-connected service system for children, youth and families, as raised in the Minister’s progress update on the implementation of the ACT Children and Young People’s Commitment 2015-2025, dated 6 April 2022, what specific recommendations have been made by families, service providers, and/or government agencies to overcome the fragmented nature of the current service system.

(2) What specific recommendations has the Government received to improve pathways to support.

Ms Stephen-Smith: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

The Community Services Directorate (CSD) receives feedback from a variety of sources, including conversations with people with lived experience, community sector partner forums and dedicated project consultations, for example those that have informed development of the successor strategy to A Step Up for Our Kids.

(1) The following consistent themes and recommendations have been identified across many forums and conversations:

Program eligibility requirements, cohort specific services and rigid requirements around time-limited services contribute to service system fragmentation. Service providers and consumers have sought reform with a view to ensuring continuity of service and reducing the complexity of referral processes for children, young people and families to access support.

The service system should have an increased focus on providing earlier support to children and their families before they reach crisis. Families require early, intensive, strengths-based and culturally-safe family support that meets their needs.

Community services should be commissioned to deliver outcomes for the community, be based on identified need, and informed by the experiences of children and families who are using these services.

Information sharing and data collection should support client outcomes and reduce the need for people to tell their stories multiple times.

There is strong support for family-led decision making wherever it is safe to do so.

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