Work begins on new child and family support system

27 Jun 2019 newsmedia

A new effort to improve the lives of our state’s at-risk children will begin this week, with the first workshops to design a new system of child and family supports.

The State Government announced the strategy for a new system in March this year, which includes consolidating government efforts to keep children safe from neglect or abuse
within the Department of Human Services (DHS).

As part of this, the State Government is working in partnership with non-government organisations, front line workers, service users, Aboriginal community members and other
government departments to design a more coherent, connected system.

The new system will be built on a strong evidence base, with research providing new insights into the multiple and complex needs of families across the state, as well as understanding what services are required to provide real improvements in family outcomes.

“Ultimately, we want to see more children able to live safe, happy and productive lives at home with their families,” said Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink.

“We accept that sometimes children need to be removed from their families for their own safety, but we also don’t want to miss opportunities to provide supportive interventions that may change the trajectory of a family unit."

“We have a lot of families facing numerous complex issues, such as homelessness, domestic and family violence, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse and numerous other factors that challenge parenting capacity."

“We need to pull together expertise from all these areas to create coordinated service pathways that lead to real improvement in life outcomes for children and their families.”

The co-design process will take place across the state over the coming months.

“This process involves working with frontline workers – like allied health and social work professionals – as well as service users to really look at how we can design a connected system that delivers the right service in a timely way,” said Minister Lensink.

“We will be talking about things like referral pathways, monitoring and evaluation of services, how we commission services and how we develop the workforce."

“Part of this includes looking at the best way to ensure services are using trauma-informed practices, which means staff are equipped to work with people in a healing-focussed manner."

“We will be looking specifically at what we can do to better support Aboriginal families and understand how their culture and history intersects with service provision."

“We are also looking at what needs to be done differently in regional and remote areas."

“We can’t keep seeing the number of children entering out-of-home care continue to rise like it has been – we must have a system that can work with families to address issues before it gets to that point.”

The system reform strategy and underpinning research report can be read on the EIRD page of the DHS website.