A fresh start
The 2018 A fresh start progress report (PDF 1.3MB) is the second annual progress report outlining the reform implementation progress as of 29 June 2018.
Considerable progress has been made to deliver the 256 accepted recommendations from The life they deserve:
- 76 recommendations have been completed
- 113 recommendations are being implemented
- 51 recommendations are in the planning stage
- 16 recommendations are yet to commence.
In the first phase of reform, efforts have focused on developing and implementing the necessary legal and policy frameworks to drive change. Our approach will now be evolving to deliver a consolidated and coordinated framework and program improvement to build a better system to protect vulnerable children and young people in South Australia.
Key areas of the report include:
A number of legislative reforms have been developed to reflect the recommendations in The life they deserve and deliver a new way of responding to the risk of abuse and neglect.
Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017
This Act replaces the Children’s Protection Act 1993 and will significantly shift the way the sector works together to support families, children in care and carers.
The Department for Child Protection has commenced a two-phase implementation of the Act. The first phase commenced on 26 February 2018, including sections that:
- give greater voice to children and young people
- give carers greater rights and involvement in decision-making
- increase opportunities to provide assistance to care leavers
- improve information sharing provisions
- provide greater oversight of decision-making, including rights to internal and external review.
Training sessions and practice guidelines have been developed to help staff in their operational requirements while working between implementation phases.
Phase two will commence in October 2018 and will see the Act implemented in full.
The Children’s Protection Law Reform (Transitional Arrangements and Related Amendments) Act 2017 provides the technical transitional arrangements necessary to allow DCP to transfer or transition from the Children’s Protection Act to the new Act.
Other milestone legislative reforms
A suite of legislative reforms have been developed to underpin South Australia’s child protection system and vastly improve the safeguards for vulnerable children and young people.
Aboriginal families and communities
In addition to national partnerships, the Department for Child Protection has recently undertaken significant steps to support much needed changes in the way we work with Aboriginal families, communities and organisations. This includes:
- recruiting the Director, Aboriginal Practice and Principal Aboriginal Consultants in all service delivery directorates
- including Family Group Conferencing in the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017
- establishing the Family Scoping Unit
- a commitment to 10% Aboriginal employment across the workforce in departmental recruitment and retention strategies
- developing a cultural capabilities framework and reviewing procedures to streamline sources of internal cultural advice to the agency.
A number of government and non-government agencies and sector partners deliver services to vulnerable and at-risk children and families including prevention and early intervention, education and child development and child and maternal health services.
The Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 reinforces our responsibility to ensure that if we are intervening in a family, it is done so in a timely manner. The Act also requires us to promote, support and adequately resource evidence-based programs delivering preventative and support services.
The Early Intervention Research Directorate (EIRD) was established as part of the response to The life they deserve and is supported by an External Expert Consortium of child protection and human services academics. EIRD also works closely with the Office for Data Analytics.
EIRD developed its Prevention and Early Intervention Strategy following extensive consultation, research and data analysis. The Strategy contains four themes to drive action:
- Support our most vulnerable
- Prioritise Aboriginal children, families and cultures
- Strengthen the system
- Build the evidence
EIRD’s work plan includes exploring social and health vulnerability, child development, early life interventions, and how data can help identify what works to improve outcomes for children and young people.