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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 11 November 2021) . . Page.. 3310 ..

I mentioned, the 2017-18 budget committed $2½ million a year to establish two additional frontline casework teams in response to the increase in child concern reports. However, demand continues to grow. In the 2020-21 financial year, the CYPS intake team received 21,697 child concern reports to assess. This was a significant increase from 2019-20, when 18,663 reports were received, and which continued the upward trend seen over several years.

In the 2021-22 budget the ACT government committed $6.49 million over four years to further develop CYRIS to ensure high-quality information is available to comprehensively assess the risk experienced by vulnerable children and young people. During 2021-22 work is expected to be completed on a new online reporting portal as part of the phased implementation of CYRIS that will decrease the administrative burden, streamline the process and increase the time available for intake staff to review information and assess reports, resulting in enhanced decision-making and responses.

The ACT government will also investigate the viability of piloting a response at intake to enhance engagement with mandated reporters through a dedicated consultation team at intake. The government also continues to fund the CYPS case analysis team, an important service for the holistic assessment of information held by CYPS in complex matters. In addition to undertaking holistic case reviews, the CYPS case analysis team has an increasing role in providing complex case consultations directly to operational areas.

The government will explore the viability of expanding the remit of the CYPS case analysis team to coordinate or provide a quality assurance case review process for children where a threshold number of reports has been received and co-existing risk factors for cumulative harm are present.

CYPS has also established liaison and referral points with government agencies and community sector providers to better meet the needs of vulnerable children, young people and their families. To further support these partnerships and information sharing efforts, a range of external partners now co-locate with CYPS on a regular basis. CYPS will continue to work in partnership and develop the relationships with key government and community stakeholders in responding to concerns of child abuse and neglect.

The ACT government takes its responsibilities for the safety and protection of Canberra’s children and young people very seriously. Over the past five years, we have worked to undertake systemic reform. But we must do more, and we will. We will continue our reform agenda and do further work in response to the coroner’s recommendations.

We need to continue to develop safe and effective responses regarding children at risk of harm. However, outcomes for children will be better if we can connect families with support before a child is identified as being at serious risk. This will require an integrated approach to reform across the ACT human services system.

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