Page 434 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 16 February 2016

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On 7 March 2013 the Auditor-General of the ACT released performance audit report No 1 of 2013 into the care and protection system. The Auditor-General made a number of findings and presented 11 recommendations with 66 parts to the government. Two updates on the government’s implementation of recommendations to the audit report have previously been provided to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. The first update was provided in April 2014 and a second update in May 2015.

Madam Assistant Speaker, as Chair of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Mr Smyth tabled the Review of Auditor-General’s report No. 1 of 2013: Care and protection system in the Legislative Assembly on 24 September 2015. The Standing Committee on Public Accounts considered the government’s two previous responses to the Auditor-General’s report and the review produced six recommendations.

The government, led by the Community Services Directorate, has undertaken a significant continuous program of reform, in partnership with key stakeholders, to strengthen service delivery and improve outcomes for vulnerable children and young people and their families. This program of reform has been ongoing since 2012 and we are seeing great changes in the system and positive outcomes for children and young people and their families.

These reforms include an integrated management system that is providing practical day-to-day guidance to child and youth protection services workers; improvements in early intervention services, such as the child and family centres and the child, youth and family services program—these improvements are having an impact in diverting vulnerable families away from child and youth protection services and into alternative government and community supports; the integration of statutory services of youth justice and care and protection into a single service known as care and youth protection services to provide a more holistic service at the right time for the right duration—the integration of care and protection services and youth justice has been effective in implementing a single case management framework, improvement processes, removing duplication and increasing collaboration within the Community Services Directorate and across the sector; strengthening of training and supervision for child and youth protection workers to support a knowledgeable, prepared and skilled workforce; and investing $2.7 million capital to develop a new client management system to replace the current legacy system and improve record keeping and information sharing.

Most importantly, we are investing $38.9 million over four years to fund the out of home care system, including an investment of $16 million in new services and reforms through the implementation of the government’s new out of home care strategy, A step up for our kids—one step can make a lifetime of difference. I am very pleased to note that the new services being delivered by our community partners—Uniting, ACT Together and the Red Cross—have commenced.

The Office for Children, Youth and Family Support and, more broadly, the Community Services Directorate, are achieving a well-planned service system with skilled staff who are providing better services to vulnerable children, young people

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