Page 2620 - Week 07 - Thursday, 18 June 2009

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Disability, Housing and Community Services, during the functional realignment in October 2007, insofar as it related to CPS, were there any cuts to services or staffing numbers; if so, to what extent were these cuts.

(2) What changes did the realignment bring to staff workloads.

(3) What process is involved in providing a family with a differential response and what follow-up or further referral action is taken.

(4) What improvements have been made to the differential response approach as a result of the ongoing evaluation of the approach.

(5) What child protection management and process improvements were made as a result of the Demand Management Strategy.

(6) Is ACT Policing involved in the Common Assessment Framework; if not, why not.

(7) What was learned from the Common Assessment Framework pilot.

(8) Will the Common Assessment Framework become a permanent program.

(9) What is the status of the Out of Home Care Framework 2009-2012.

Mr Barr: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) There were no cuts to services or staffing during the functional realignment in October 2007. The realignment was a process of changing the structure of Care and Protection Services (CPS) to improve the continuity of a client’s journey through the service. This was achieved by reducing four operational teams into three teams and bringing together policy and practice support under the new Practice Support Unit. This allowed for the consolidation of policy development, compliance monitoring and the establishment of practice leader positions to support operational staff.

(2) The realignment process required some staff to move teams/units however there was no substantive change to the workloads of individuals.

(3) When a report is made to CPS the decision to apply the differential response model is contingent on the level of risk and need assessed for the children/young people involved. When undertaking the assessment caseworkers will assess the safety and wellbeing of the children. If there are immediate concerns CPS staff may be required to take Emergency Action or seek a Voluntary Care Agreement to ensure the child or young person’s safety.

The assessment and support response is undertaken by the Centralised Intake Service and involves contact with a range of agencies dependant on the needs of the children/young people and their family.

(4) CPS constantly evaluates its processes to refine and improve service delivery. Changes to improve the approach have been the development of two child protection workers in the Child and Family Centres linkages through the Integrated Family Support program and referral pathways directed to the non government agencies. CPS have also introduced an Initial Safety Visit policy and more efficient recording mechanisms to improve service delivery outcomes.

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