Page 3135 - Week 10 - Thursday, 15 August 2013

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Some 665 care and protection case conferences were held last year for children involved in care and protection, bringing together families, friends and professionals to address issues of concern and find a way forward. Funding is provided in this year’s budget for a feasibility study for a new electronic system and for improvements. The work that has taken place at Bimberi with the IMS is a testament to the positive outcomes and a reflection of what we can achieve in this place when the program of upgrades is completed.

Care and Protection Services have recently advertised for youth-work staff for a new “youth on orders” team. To improve recruitment to the office, seven social work students have commenced their placements with Care and Protection Services. These placements are an opportunity to improve the likelihood that these students will choose statutory child protection work as a pathway following graduation.

One carer round table has been held this year and another one will be held shortly to make sure that I hear directly the views of carers. And a carers consultative group has also been established.

Care and Protection are also working hard to strengthen staff skills and support their team. A professional development program has been developed and Care and Protection Services continue to respond to a large volume of concern and protection reports and manage over 550 children in care. I for one thank them for the work they do each and every day and also for the great work that the foster and kinship carers do. (Time expired.)

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, what measures have you put in place to ensure that the implementation of these reforms continue?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Porter for her interest. As I have indicated, the Office for Children, Youth and Family Support implemented a comprehensive and achievable governance structure to implement long-term change in a complex client environment. Of particular importance is the integrated management system. The IMS is the key to service delivery reform in CSD.

Considerable work has also been done to develop a strategic plan for out-of-home care, which is on track for finalisation next year. Case conferencing has been implemented in an attempt to achieve alternate outcomes for young people coming into contact with Care and Protection and a case audit tool has been developed and tested. Our dedicated Care and Protection staff do an excellent job in balancing a range of difficult decisions on a daily basis in pursuit of the best interests of the child.

Like all organisations, there will always be aspects of care and protection work that need reflection and improvement, and issues that need to be addressed. While reviews provide an opportunity to reflect and to learn and improve, the constructive and positive approach is always important to support the people who are the subject of the review and who are required to implement change.

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