The Hon Susan Close, MP
Minister for Education and Child Development

This annual report is presented to Parliament to meet the statutory reporting requirements of the Public Sector Act 2009 and Children's Protection Act 1993 and meets the requirements of Premier and Cabinet Circular PC013 Annual Reporting.

This report is verified to be accurate for the purposes of annual reporting to the Parliament of South Australia.

Submitted on behalf of the Department for Child Protection by:

Cathy Taylor
Chief Executive

Signed 30/09/2017

Agency purpose or role

The Department for Child Protection's (DCP) vision is for all children and young people to grow up well cared for, connected and empowered to reach their full potential. The department works to care and protect children and young people by working together with our partners to address abuse and neglect and to keep them safe from further harm.


DCP has 6 strategic objectives to support families and carers and to improve outcomes for children and young people:

  • supporting families and carers
  • addressing the over-representation of Aboriginal children in care
  • improving care experiences
  • working together
  • building leadership and learning
  • delivering a better system.

Key strategies and their relationship to SA Government objectives

Key strategySA Government objective
Build strong sustainable relationships with families and carers through engagement respect and trust.This work progresses the South Australian Every Chance for Every Child priority by providing better support to strengthening children and families to achieve their best.
Address the disproportionate number of Aboriginal children in care by supporting strength and safety in Aboriginal families, communities and culture.This work progresses the South Australian priority of supporting Aboriginal families by strengthening local communities and culture.
Improve experiences and outcomes for children and young people in care by providing high quality and supportive care environments.This work progresses the South Australian Every Chance for Every Child priority by providing quality care environments when children are not able to live with their birth families.
Increase support to families and children by collaborating with service partners to strengthen service delivery.This work progresses the South Australian Better Together initiative by working across agencies to improve services to children and families.
Build a workforce culture that promotes leadership, learning and cultural competence.This work progresses the South Australian priority of a professional and modern public sector by investing in leadership and learning of our employees.
Design and deliver a service system that is easy to understand and use, and that improve service delivery regionally and locally.This work progresses the South Australian priority to reduce red tape and improve service delivery in regional areas of the State. 

Agency programs and initiatives and their effectiveness and efficiency

Program nameIndicators of performance / effectiveness / efficiencyComments
Child Protection Reform - implementing A Fresh Start

At 30 June 2017, of 256 accepted recommendations there are:

  • 36 - completed
  • 63 - being implemented
  • 85 - being planned
  • 72 - not yet commenced
Refer to the A Fresh Start progress report (PDF, 1.3 MB)
Responding to notificationsTotal calls made to the Call Centre64, 899In 2017-18 a new Child Safety Pathway will commence which aims to improve the efficiency of the Child Abuse Report Line.
Number of calls answered41, 304
Average wait time to the Child Abuse Report Line47 min 44 secThe new Child Safety Pathway is already having a significant impact on average call wait times for 2017-18
Number of eCARL submissions30, 056 
Child protection responsesNumber of notifications52, 980 (including 11,145 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children)

In 2017-18, pilots of two new multi-agency service response pathways that aim to provide earlier responses to child protection concerns will commence:

  • Multi Agency Assessment Unit
  • Child and Family Assessment and Referral Pathway
Number of screened-in notifications21, 550 (including 5,290 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children)
Children placed on child protection orderTotal children placed on orders1,458 (including 509 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children) 
Children placed on orders for first time681 (including 212 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children) 
Total children placed on a 12-month order at 30 June 2017481 (including 183 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children) 
Total children placed on an order until 18 years of age 2, 815 (including 948 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children) 
Children in out of home careNumber of children (0-17) years in out of home care at 30 June 20173,484 (including 1,145 Aboriginal children)

*This is the national data definition for ROGS

In 2017/18 a new Out of Home Care (OOHC) Strategy will develop a sustainable OOHC system that meets the needs of children and their carers.

This strategy aims to reduce the number of Aboriginal children in care and to increase the number of children in family based options.

Already this strategy is affecting a reduction in the number of children in commercial facilities. Refer to the Reporting and Statistics page on our website.

Number of children (0-18) years in out of home care at 30 June 20173,504 (including 1,158 Aboriginal children)
 0-17 years0-18 years
Foster care1,3331,343
Kinship care1,3651,371
Specific Child Only care198199
Residential care388389
Independent living3840
Commercial facilities162162

Legislation administered by the agency

  • Adoption Act 1988 (SA)
  • Adoption Regulations 2004 (SA)
  • The Children and Young People (Safety) Bill 2017 (once enacted)
  • Child Protection Review (Powers and Immunities) Act 2002 (SA)
  • Children's Protection Act 1993 (SA) (until the conferring of the new Bill)
  • Children's Protection Regulations 2010 (SA)
  • Children's Services Act 1985 (SA)
  • Children's Services (Appeals) Regulations 2008 (SA)
  • Commission of Inquiry (Children in State Care and Children on APY Lands Act 2004 (SA)
  • Family and Community Services Act 1972 (SA)

Organisation of the agency

DCP has developed an organisational structure that focuses on prioritising and supporting our service delivery in a new regional model that puts service delivery and decision making in the hands of local practitioners. Our service delivery is complemented by enabling corporate functions including a focus on quality practice.

The department's organisational chart (PDF, 488.6 KB) is available.

Other agencies related to this agency (within the Minister's areas of responsibility)

Department for Education and Child Development (DECD) - DECD plays a key role in supporting children, young people and their families to experience healthy development and wellbeing and to achieve excellence in learning to fulfil their potential.

Employment opportunity programs

Program nameResult of the program
DCP specific Aboriginal recruitmentAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants, who have the appropriate background and skills but do not have the essential qualification, are entitled to apply for any DCP Allied Health Professional (AHP) roles requiring a qualification in Social Work. 4.7% of DCP employees identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. 
Graduate recruitmentDuring 2016-17 DCP recruited 36 social work graduates on an ongoing and temporary basis. The DCP graduate program links with the whole-of-government Jobs4Youth program, which is a 4-year program aiming to recruit young people into the public service. 

Agency performance management and development systems

Performance management and development systemAssessment of effectiveness and efficiency
DCP is currently applying DECD policies and procedures in respect to performance management and development

Existing DECD polices and procedures are being maintained while DCP undergoes a restructure. A review of the performance management and development framework is planned for 2017-18.

LeadershipThe Chief Executive has recently finalised performance management and development discussions with her direct reports. This will be reported in the 2017-18 annual report. 
Performance Review Audit

An audit of the DCP human resource database will be undertaken in 2017-18. The audit will provide management with the opportunity to validate or update the latest performance record.

At 30 June 2017, 11.9% of the workforce had had an employment review within the last 6 months.

Occupational health, safety and rehabilitation programs of the agency and their effectiveness

Occupational health, safety and rehabilitation programsEffectiveness
A Safety Management System (SMS) exists that contains policy and procedures that are designed to reduce the risk of harm and rate of injuries to employees.The current Safety Management System will be implemented in 2017-18 to ensure that it targets the risk profile of the DCP workforce.
Managing aggressive behaviour and personal safety (potentially violent situations) course was rolled out to a number of sites during the year.Overwhelming positive feedback has been received from participants in this course. 
The instigation of the Work Health Safety (WHS) risk assessment programme that aims to proactively identify risks and develop preventative controls associated with risks including harmful occupational stress and threats of violence.Effective as the risk review critically evaluated current controls and identified where additional controls are required to reduce the rate of assaults and threats of violence.
The development of a 'Job dictionary' to assist Injury Management, Human Resources and assessors determine the suitability of roles when job matching injured workers to new roles through employment transition or ensuring a safe return to pre-injury roles.Effective in identifying risk factors in the placement of injured workers in pre-injury roles.
Early Intervention risk assesses each injury report where a physical or psychological injury may have occurred. Strategies for appropriate management include: provision of information and support to employee and/or line manager, referral to services such as the Employee Assistance program (EAP) or the Incapacity Team, dispute resolution services, identification of broader WHS risk, and information and assistance to lodge a workers compensation claim.Effective in reducing claims by proactively triaging incidents and providing supports and assistance to employees and line managers. This has identified broader organisational risks and informs the appropriate operational unit such as WHS, Performance and Incapacity, HR and Ethical Conduct. 
Creation of a Staff Wellbeing Unit to monitor and improve the wellbeing of staff.These programs are preventative and effectiveness will be shown in staff retention data in future reports. 
DCP have undertaken a staff wellbeing survey across the department to engage staff in consultation about the type of support they want and need.This survey will lead to further support mechanisms for staff and its effectiveness will be shown more broadly in future staff satisfaction surveys and in staff retention data. 
DCP have trialled a specialised critical incident and cumulative stress supports to see if they are of benefit to address exposure to trauma in the workplace.14 support services have been delivered since November 2016. 
DCP have provided onsite workshops on resilience, stress management, vicarious trauma, and burnout.Four different formats piloted so far. Feedback received through these initiatives has been overwhelmingly positive with participants reporting to increased knowledge and confidence in strategies that will manage stress and reduce the likelihood of burnout. 
DCP have provided enhanced support at induction to increase self-care and resiliency, via a one-day wellbeing workshop for new social workers.Four sessions completed so far. 

Fraud detected in the agency

Nature of fraudNumber of instances
Falsified client documentation1
Falsified medical certificates1
Falsified employment declaration1
Personal employee taxation fraud1

Strategies implemented to control and prevent fraud

DCP has established its own governance framework including:

  • establishment of an internal committee to progress high priority risk and audit requirements pending the establishment of an externally chaired Audit and Risk Committee that had true independence from senior management
  • the priority of this committee is to establish a Risk Management Framework and Legal Compliance Framework which is anticipated to be completed by 31 December 2017
  • Ashton Advisory was engaged to facilitate an Ethical Behaviours and Cultural Aspects of Risk workshop to support the leadership team in driving a culture that promotes accountable leadership and appropriate governance mechanisms
  • support is being provided by SA Health's Group Director Risk and Assurance Services to establish a best practice audit and risk governance framework, including facilitation of a strategic risk workshop for the DCP Senior Executive Group.

The Code of Ethics for the South Australian Public Sector was communicated across the department through:

  • a dedicated Employee Conduct page on the intranet including fact sheets and scenarios
  • communications about the Professional Conduct Standards (2016)
  • release of the Office of the Public Sector (OPS) online learning resource across all corporate and school based employees. This has included monitoring of course completion and reporting to OPS.

Relevant features of the Code were delivered in fact to fact Merit Selection Training - in particular ethical behaviours in selection, elimination of conflicts of interest including nepotism and patronage, and confidentiality (handling official information). Consultancy was available around application of the Code. Key features of advice over recent times include outside employment and conflicts of interest. The Code is also applied in managerial advice and guidance to staff as part of resolution of employee complaints.

The DECD webinar titled Introduction to ICAC (Independent Commissioner Against Corruption) continued to be available to staff and leaders on the Employee Conduct intranet page and:

  • explains the difference between corruption, maladministration and misconduct
  • includes scenarios to demonstrate examples of appropriate and inappropriate behaviours
  • highlights links between the Code of Ethics for the South Australian Public Sector and reporting responsibilities of all DECD staff in relation to ICAC.

A reminder about ICAC reporting obligations was communicated to staff in May 2017. The information remains active on the DECD intranet. It encouraged staff to participate in ICAC information sessions.

Data for the past five years is not available as DCP became a standalone department for the first time in 2016/17.

Whistle-blowers' discourse

Number of occasions on which public information has been disclosed to a responsible officer of the agency under the Whistle-blowers' Protection Act 19930

Data for the past five years is not available as DCP became a standalone department for the first time in 2016/17.

Executive employment in the agency (as from 3 July 2017)

Executive classificationNumber of executives
Chief Executive1
Deputy Chief Executive, Service Delivery and Practice1
Executive Director, Out of Home Care1
Executive Director, Strategy and Performance1
Chief Human Resources Officer1
Chief Finance Officer1
Chief Information Officer1
Director, Quality and Practice1
Director, Legal Services1
Director, Residential Care1
Regional Directors4
Director, Office of the Chief Executive 1
Regional Director, State-wide Services1

Data for the past five years is not available as DCP became a standalone department for the first time in 2016-17.

The Office for the Public Sector has a data dashboard for further information on the breakdown of executive gender, salary and tenure by agency.


The following is a summary of external consultants that have been engaged by the agency, the nature of work undertaken and the total cost of the work undertaken.

All consultancies below $10,000 eachNil$ 0
Consultancies above $10,000 each
Ernst & YoungProvision of program management consulting services 
Ernst & YoungServices provided for the costing of non-government organisation out of home care services project for DCP 
Ernst & YoungAssisting in the on-boarding and capability uplift of program management staff, integrated program planning services and the retainer provision of specialist governance and program advisory services 
Ernst & Young sub-total$49,326
KPMGDevelopment of carer advocacy model 
KPMGDevelopment of a Foster and Kinship Care strategy 
KPMG sub-total$506,770
Total all consultancies$556,105

This data is not available for the past five years as DCP became a standalone department for the first time in 2016/17.

See also the Tenders SA website for a list of all external consultancies, including nature of work and value.

See also the Consolidated Financial Report of the Department of Treasury and Finance for total value of consultancy contracts across the SA public sector.

Financial performance of the agency

The following is a brief summary of the overall financial position of the agency. The information is unaudited. Full audited financial statements for 2016/17 are available in Appendix A.

Executive summary

On 21 June 2016 the SA Government announced its intention to transfer the Office for Child Protection (Families SA) from DECD to a new Department for Child Protection (DCP) in response to an interim recommendation by the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission. DCP was established on 1 November 2016 as an administrative unit established by the Public Sector Act 2009.

1,750 staff transferred from DECD to DCP on establishment and net liabilities of $30.8 million, mostly related to employee leave and workers compensation provisions, were also transferred.

State Budget Summary

The State Budget was released on 22 June 2017. The 2017/18 operating expenditure budget for DCP is $482 million. This is an increase on $152 million when compared with the 2016/17 expenditure budget of $330 million. This additional expenditure is mainly as a result of machinery of government changes and additional funding relating to the implementation of recommendations in 'They Life They Deserve' report including:

  • establishment of a Child Safety Pathway that offers a broader child protection and development approach to finding appropriate responses to families and children at risk
  • formation of a protective intervention team to expedite case reviews
  • development of a state-wide Out of Home Care strategy aimed at increasing the number of family based options and reducing the us eof commercial care
  • extended support to carers of young people over the age of 18. This will include assisting young people who are undertaking an apprenticeship, vocational training or university studies
  • establishment of a family scoping unit with a focus on Aboriginal children and families to increase the number of kinship carers.

The 2017/18 capital is $6.3 million for the Residential Care facilities program which will construct new out of home care facilities for children placed under the guardianship of the Minister. The first phase of this program is the construction of four individual residential care dwellings in the northern metropolitan area. This project is being managed by Renewal SA and is due for completion in 2017/18.

More information on the State Budget can be found on the Department of Treasury and Finance website.

Our income - where it comes from

The total income received by DCP in 2016/17 was $6 million and revenue received from SA Government was $327 million.

Our expenditure - how our funds are spent

The total expenditure by DCP in 2016/17 was $311 million, major expenditure areas included

  • $112 million for employee benefits
  • $83 million for grants and subsidies
  • $82 million for contracted out of home care services

Our assets - what we own

The department recorded assets totalling $77 million, major classes included $40 million in property plant and equipment and $32 million in cash.

Summary of our liabilities - what we owe

The department recorded liabilities totalling $84 million, major classes included $46 million of employee benefits and $22 million in payables.

Other financial information

Nil to report.

Other information requested by the Minister(s) or other significant issues affecting the agency or reporting pertaining to independent functions

Nil to report.

Children's Protection Act 1993

Division 4 - Matters to be included in annual report of Department

8E - Matters to be included in annual report of Department

(1) The annual report of the Department must include the following information in respect of the period covered by the annual report:

(a) information setting out -

  • (i) the number of applications made under sections 20(1) and 22; and
  • (ii) the number and general nature of any orders made under the Act in relation to those applications;

(b) information setting out the number and general nature of any orders made under section 21(1)(ab);

(c) information setting out -

  • (i) the number of applications made under section 37(1) or (1a); and
  • (ii) the number and general nature of any orders made under the Act in relation to those applications.

(2) This section is in addition to, and does not derogate from, any other requirement under this Act or the Public Sector Act 2009.

Section 20(1) Applications
Investigation & Assessment with custody841
Investigation & Assessment without custody order20
Section 20(1) Orders
Investigation & Assessment with custody664
Extension of Investigation & Assessment137
Investigation & Assessment without custody order13
Section 21(1)(ab) orders
Capacity to care assessment911
Course - DV18
Course - Drug/Alcohol11
Mental Health Assessment479
Drug assessment1001
Drug testing1028
Alcohol testing0
Section 22N/A
Applications made under the Act in relation to Section 37(1)
Guardianship of Minister to 12 months s38.1c484
Guardianship of Minister to 18 years s38.1d542
Custody to Minister to 12 months s38.1b(iv)29
Care & Protection without custody or guardianship order24
Guardianship to other to 18 years s38.1d32
Guardianship to other to 12 months s38.1c12
Custody to guardian to 12 months s38.1b(i)11
Custody to family member to 12 months s38b(ii)1
Orders made under the Act in relation to Section 37(1)
Guardianship of Minister to 12 months s38.1c512
Guardianship of Minister to 18 years s38.1d453
Custody to Minister to 12 months s38.1b(iv)1
Care & Protection without custody or guardianship order19
Guardianship to other to 18 years s38.1d1
Guardianship to other to 12 months s38.1c26
Custody to guardian to 12 months s38.1b(i)19
Custody to family member to 12 months s38b(ii)1
Interim orders Section 37(1)
Interim guardianship of the Minister s38.1c2603
Interim custody to Minister 238.1b(iv)22
Interim guardianship of other person s38.1c8
Section 37(1a)N/A
The number and general nature of any orders made under section 38(1)(a)
Drug testing250
Interim drug testing35
Written undertaking68
Treatment for drug abuse95
Interim treatment for drug abuse12
Supervision of CEO 27
Interim supervision other party1
Alcohol testing5

Reporting required under the Carers' Recognition Act 2005

The Carers' Recognition Act is deemed applicable for the following:

  • Department for Communities and Social Inclusion
  • Department for Education and Child Development
  • Department for Health and Ageing
  • Department for State Development
  • Department for Planning, Transport and Infrastructure
  • South Australia Police

Section 7: Compliance or non-compliance with section 6 of the Carers Recognition Act 2005 and (b) if a person or body provides relevant services under a contract with the organisation (other than a contract of employment), that person's or body's compliance or non-compliance with section 6. 

Nil to report.

Summary of complaints by subject

Public complaints receive by Department for Child Protection
Category of complaints by subjectNumber of instances
Nil to report 

This data is not available for the last five years as DCP became a standalone department for the first time in 2016/17.

Reporting commenced July 2017.

Complaint outcomes

Nature of complaint or suggestionServices improved or changes as a result of complaints or consumer suggestions
Nil to report