The Child Protection Systems Royal Commission delivered its report, 'The Life They Deserve', in August 2016. The report made 260 recommendations about improvements to the child protection system.

Read about each recommendation on this page, including details of the South Australian Government’s response, and progress so far. Lead agencies have been updated to reflect machinery of government changes that took effect on 1 July 2019.

Read more about our recent progress implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission (PDF, 4.1 MB).

Recommendations

Recommendation 1

Establish a protocol to govern eligibility for a grant of legal aid to carers, where the child’s best interests would be better or more appropriately secured by obtaining Family Court orders, rather than by proceedings in the Youth Court. Further, that funding be provided to the Legal Services Commission and quarantined for this specific purpose.

  • Response to recommendation 1

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    Twelve matters have received a grant of aid under the Legal Services Commission’s guidelines to grant legal aid to carers in matters where the child's best interests would be better or more appropriately secured by obtaining Family Court orders rather than by proceedings in the Youth Court.

    The guidelines are activated when an application is made for legal aid by a carer on the suggestion of the Department for Child Protection.

    The funding to be provided to the Legal Services Commission and quarantined for this specific purpose is yet to be established.

    Status: Accepted in Principle - Phase 2

    Lead agency: Legal Services Commission (LSC)

Recommendation 2

Fund, subject to a protocol, any required filing costs where there is a need for Youth Court orders to be registered in the Family Court to improve the safety of the children to whom they relate.

  • Response to recommendation 2

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    If a Youth Court order requires registration in the Family Courts in a proceeding in which a client has a grant of legal aid, the filing costs of registering the order are waived.

    Status: Accepted in Principle - Phase 2

    Lead agency: Legal Services Commission (LSC)

Recommendation 3

Support and promote for action, recommendation 5(a) of the Family Law Council interim report (June 2015), which advocates for the development of a national database of child protection and Family Court orders.

  • Response to recommendation 3

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    June 2018

    The Department for Child Protection is supporting recommendation 5(a) of the Family Law Council interim report (June 2015), which advocates for the development of a national database of child protection and Family Court orders through the Family Violence Working Group (established by the National Law, Crime and Community Safety Council).

    This Group is considering options to implement an information sharing regime to improve the accessibility of family violence, child protection and family law orders, judgements, transcripts and other relevant documentation across the state, territory and Commonwealth courts and other agencies.

    One of the principles guiding the development and implementation of this information sharing regime, is it should be compatible with, and able to be enhanced by technology, to ensure efficient and timely sharing of information.

    The department will continue to monitor and support the Working Group to progress this work and improve interactions across federal family law and state and territory family violence systems.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

    The South Australian Government accepts this recommendation.

    The Family Law Council’s final report, published by the Federal Attorney-General since the release of 'The Life They Deserve', reiterates its advocacy for the development of a national database for child protection and Family Court orders.

    The creation of a national database has been advocated for in many states and territories – for example the establishment of a national database was also recommended by the Royal Commission into Family Violence (Victoria).

    The South Australian Government supports the development of a national database of child protection and Family Court orders, as proposed by the Family Law Council, and will promote this issue for action at COAG.

Recommendation 4

Reinstitute the court liaison role (CLR) as a strategic link between the agency, the Family Court and the Youth Court, to improve system interface and to develop service responses in accordance with the requirements of each jurisdiction.

  • Response to recommendation 4

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    December 2017

    The Court Services and Liaison team continues to focus on improving the quality of the Department for Child Protection's practice in the Youth Court. The team provides training to departmental staff regarding Youth and Family Law Court processes and practice considerations.

    It is also working to improve relationships with key stakeholders in the Crown Solicitor's Office, the Youth Court and Family Law Courts, and to improve information sharing with the Family Law Courts.

    To further strengthen strategic links between the department and the Family Law Court, the department has recently committed to the recruitment of a child protection officer to be out-posted in the Federal Circuit Court.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

    The South Australian Government accepted this recommendation on 12 August 2016.

    The court liaison role was reinstituted in the form of the Court Services and Liaison Team within the Department for Child Protection. The team became operational in August 2016.

    This team is currently providing valuable support to case workers and social workers across the Department for Child Protection. The team is responsible for managing the relationship and strategic link between the department and the Youth Court.

    Further work will be undertaken to develop the role of this team in managing and strengthening strategic links between the department and the Family Court.

Recommendation 5

Move the Office of Child Protection and the functions of Families SA out of the Department for Education and Child Development to establish a separate department that has the business of child protection as its primary focus, and which has elements and functions as set out in this report.

  • Response to recommendation 5

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    Status: Accepted - Completed

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

    The South Australian Government accepted this interim recommendation on 21 June 2016.

    The new Department for Child Protection was established on 1 November 2016. The functions of Families SA were moved out of the Department for Education and Child Development and into the new agency, which has child protection as its primary focus.

    To make the transition as seamless as possible, the new department has retained Families SA’s contact numbers.

    For more information on the new department visit https://www.childprotection.sa.gov.au/

Recommendation 6

Appoint a Chief Executive of the new department who has strong leadership skills and recognised credibility in child protection work, and who has a direct line of ministerial responsibility.

  • Response to recommendation 6

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    Status: Accepted - Completed

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

    The South Australian Government accepted this interim recommendation on 21 June 2016.

    After an international search, Cathy Taylor was announced as the new chief executive of the stand-alone Department for Child Protection on 14 September 2016.

    To make the transition as seamless as possible, the new department has retained Families SA’s contact numbers.

    Ms Taylor commenced as chief executive on 31 October 2016. For more information about Ms Taylor visit https://www.childprotection.sa.gov.au/department/chief-executive-child-protection

Recommendation 7

Implement a structure in the new department that reduces the hierarchies between leadership and front-line workers.

  • Response to recommendation 7

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    December 2017

    A new leadership structure has been established which has reduced hierarchies between leadership and front-line workers. From July 2017, DCP began implementing the new regional structure within the Service Delivery and Practice directorate, and have recruited the 4 regional directors.

    More detail on the structure can be found on the DCP website

    Terms of Reference for the Senior Executive Group have been approved. As part of the operation of the Senior Executive Group, meetings are held at different sites across the department to provide an opportunity for front-line workers to connect with the Executive and share their experiences, ideas and feedback on changes taking place.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

    The South Australian Government accepted this interim recommendation on 21 June 2016.

    As an order of priority, the chief executive, Department for Child Protection has been tasked with reviewing and implementing a flatter structure, where streamlined communication between executive and frontline workers is encouraged.

Recommendation 8

Establish a refreshed leadership in the new department with emphasis on the attraction and retention of leaders who have recognised credibility in child protection work, and who have the capacity to lead a major reform of organisational culture.

  • Response to recommendation 8

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    December 2017

    A new leadership structure has been established which as included the appointment of new executive who have experience and credibility in child protection work and a track record of leading a major organisational change successfully.

    A new regional Service Delivery and Practice structure has been established and began implementation in July 2017. Four regional directors have been recruited.

    The Service Delivery and Practice Executive Group has been established and terms of reference approved. This group meets fortnightly and is charged with leading practice and service delivery improvement across the department.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

    The South Australian Government accepted this interim recommendation on 21 June 2016.

    The new Chief Executive, Cathy Taylor, commenced 31 October 2016. Ms Taylor has extensive experience in child protection work, and in leading major organisational change.

    Ms Taylor’s appointment is just the first step towards establishing a refreshed leadership. In addition, through the machinery of government changes enacted to create the new Department for Child Protection, a process of refreshed leadership structures and positions has commenced with 3 senior executive leadership positions for finance, human resources and ICT advertised on 15 October 2016.

    Ms Taylor, with assistance from the newly established human resources department, will continue to drive this process into the new year.

Recommendation 9

Review the delegation of powers to enable decision making to occur at the closest possible level to the child, subject to questions of fiscal responsibility and sensitivity or complexity of the issues.

  • Response to recommendation 9

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    December 2017

    The delegations under the Children's Protection Act 1993 were reviewed and updated in September 2017 to provide for decision-making to occur at the closest possible level to the child and to reflect changes in the new organisational structure.

    The Department for Child Protection will review the delegations and associated policies and procedures on a regular and ongoing basis.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

    The South Australian Government accepts this recommendation.

    As an order of priority, the chief executive, Department for Child Protection has been tasked with reviewing who can make decisions within the agency, and identifying opportunities to enable decision making to occur at the closest possible level to the child.

Recommendation 10

Adopt a policy that gives a child’s caseworker the primary responsibility for case management and, except in special circumstances, ensures that the caseworker is made aware of all discussions and decisions that affect the child.

  • Response to recommendation 10

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    December 2017

    A new Policy Framework is being established by the Department for Child Protection as part of the organisational restructure.

    Consultation on the framework is underway and anticipated for release at the start of 2018.

    Central to the new framework is the Clinical Governance Framework and the Child Protection Practice Framework which will be finalised by the end of 2017.

    Together with a proposed manual of practice and recently revised delegations, these will provide caseworkers with the guidance, tools and increased authority to ensure that case management decisions can be made closer to the child.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

    The South Australian Government accepts this recommendation.

    The chief executive, Department for Child Protection has been tasked with adopting the policy recommended by the Royal Commission, and ensuring that the policy translates into practice. The chief executive will be required to regularly report on progress towards recommendation 10 in the manner outlined by the Royal Commission in recommendation 260.

Recommendation 11

Conduct a formal review of Solution Based Casework™ (SBC) to critically examine whether the model is being used with fidelity to the original model in practice.

  • Response to recommendation 11

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    Conduct a formal review of the Solution Based Casework (SBC) model has been undertaken and identified use of the model is irregular and inconsistent.

    The review makes a series of recommendations with a focus on achieving a consistent practice approach within the Department for Child Protection, based on the principles of SBC.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

    The South Australian Government accepts this recommendation.

    The Department for Child Protection commenced an SBC evaluation project on 28 September 2016. A key component of the project is to evaluate whether the model is being used with fidelity to the original model in practice.

    The evaluation will involve consultation with practitioners, supervisors, managers and staff from the Quality and Practice Directorate to identify ways SBC has improved practice and better understand the challenges that may result in the model not being appropriately applied.

    Findings of the evaluation project will be discussed with the model developer as part of the ongoing adaption of the model for use in South Australia.

Recommendation 12

Provide an ongoing SBC consultation and training service to be delivered by principal social work staff and appropriately accredited trainers in SBC who remain within the agency.

  • Response to recommendation 12

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    In response to recommendation 12, the Department for Child Protection (DCP) is moving away from the Solution Based Casework (SBC) model and is developing a new practice approach to best meet the needs of children, young people and families in South Australia.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 13

Provide an ongoing SBC consultation and training service to be delivered by principal social work staff and appropriately accredited trainers in SBC who remain within the agency.

  • Response to recommendation 13

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    June 2018

    An audit of departmental process and policy documentations has been completed. This audit provides a platform from which existing documents are being reviewed, updated or retired. A process to work through the list of documents requiring review is underway with priority being given for those affected by the new Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017.

    A new Department for Child Protection (DCP) Policy Framework has been developed and implemented. The Framework supports consistent processes for effective governance and decision-making to ensure departmental policy is dynamic and supports best practice.

    A new DCP intranet is now in place and provides the platform for all staff to access departmental policies. Senior Executives have overarching responsibility to monitor, evaluate and review departmental documents as required, and to ensure that information and processes that guide business remain current.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

    The South Australian Government accepts this recommendation.

    In May 2015, a review of all Department for Child Protection process and policy documentation began. The primary purpose of this review is to:

    • identify all policy documentation that is no longer relevant or is out of date and decommission them
    • identify opportunities for rationalisation of policy documentation
    • improve and further develop current policy documentation
    • re-categorise and rename documentation to make it easier to find and access the information and guidance that front line workers require.

    All current policy documentation is stored on and accessible via the departmental intranet.

    A reviewed and streamlined set of policy documentation will be delivered by late-2017 and work to develop a single online database will begin during that period.

Recommendation 14

Employ administrative assistants at adequate levels of expertise to support casework teams to manage the administrative requirements of C3MS.

  • Response to recommendation 14

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    Status: Not accepted

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

    The South Australian Government does not accept this recommendation.

    While the administrative requirements of case workers to record notes on C3MS can be time intensive, employing administrative assistants to undertake data entry and administrative C3MS tasks would not significantly reduce the office-based requirements of case workers.

    Instead it will create an additional layer of information exchange that may lead to key information about children and families being lost, miscommunicated or misinterpreted when uploaded by individuals not involved in the case.

    It may also result in double handing and only minimal efficiency gains, as case workers will still be required to type up or write the similar notes before they are uploaded by others.

    Based on the outcomes of the review of C3MS identified in recommendation 20 and other potential enhancements recommended in 15, 16, 17 and 19, it may be appropriate to consider administrative support for C3MS or an alternative database at a later date.

Recommendation 15

Employ administrative assistants at adequate levels of expertise to support casework teams to manage the administrative requirements of C3MS.

  • Response to recommendation 15

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    The process of updating guidelines for recording information in the Connected Client and Case Management System (C3MS) has been completed. Ongoing updating is also being undertaken as critical enhancements are made to C3MS.

    A review of the rationalisation of available categories in C3MS has been completed.

    Reducing the number of categories is not possible at this time due to the limitations of the underlying C3MS technology.

    This issue will be addressed as part of the response to recommendation 20 and will be included in the C3MS replacement program of work.

    Status: Accepted in principle - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 16

Develop training in the use of C3MS to ensure that practitioners understand their obligations in uploading data, and the limitations of the incident-based nature of recording.

  • Response to recommendation 16

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    The Department for Child Protection (DCP) ICT and Information Management training strategy has been incorporated within the DCP Learning and Development Strategy 2018-2021.

    Connected Client and Case Management System (C3MS) training programs have been reviewed and changes have been made to the content and format to increase effectiveness.

    Ongoing modifications are being made to the training programs in response to learner needs. This includes the development of eLearning modules to enable more flexible and responsive learning options.

    A review of support request data has been completed and a corresponding program of workplace learning is being implemented targeting information recording associated with high volume support requests.

    Status: Accepted in principle - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 17

Provide practitioners with mobile devices to allow access to C3MS from remote locations.

  • Response to recommendation 17

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    Laptops with secure connectivity to the Connected Client and Case Management System (C3MS) and other Department for Child Protection (DCP) systems are currently being deployed to all DCP office locations across the State.

    The program is on track to be completed by December 2019. The new method for securely connecting to DCP systems, including C3MS, will be rolled out to staff with existing remote access concurrently with the rollout of the laptops.

    Status: Accepted in principle - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 18

Permit stakeholders such as other government agencies and not-for-profit organisations limited access to C3MS to facilitate cooperation, collaboration and transparency.

  • Response to recommendation 18

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    Access by other government agencies to the Department for Child Protection’s Connected Client and Case Management System (C3MS) has been increased where it is appropriate to do so.

    The C3MS review highlighted the challenges in making significant changes to the system. For this reason, it is currently not possible to provide limited access to not for profit organisations. There are however a number of initiatives being planned, including a proof of concept, using more up-to-date technology for sharing information with, and information being contributed by, other agencies.

    Status: Accepted in principle - Phase 2

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 19

Set constructive and practical benchmarks for the development of critical enhancements to C3MS.

  • Response to recommendation 19

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    The Department for Child Protection has developed processes to support the setting of constructive and practical benchmarks for the development of critical enhancements to the Connected Client and Case Management System (C3MS).

    A review of this structure is currently underway to further refine governance and processes. A decision making model has also been developed and is applied to C3MS change requests to ensure priority is given to developing critical enhancements.

    An external review of C3MS has been completed with recommendations made to deliver on recommendation 20.

    Status: Accepted in principle - Phase 2

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 20

Conduct a review of the long-term viability of C3MS, and monitor research and developments in the area of electronic information management systems with a view to determining whether C3MS should be replaced with a more suitable and effective electronic information system.

  • Response to recommendation 20

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    The external review of the Connected Client and Case Management System (C3MS) has been completed. The review found that C3MS no longer meets business needs and a phased approach to replacement is recommended. The first phase of a four phase replacement program was approved by the Department for Child Protection’s Senior Executive Group in June 2019.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 21

Establish a human resources unit in the agency that has sufficient specialist expertise and resources to develop and implement strategic workforce plans and to manage operational demands to ensure high quality child protection practice.

  • Response to recommendation 21

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    Phase 2 of the Department for Child Protection’s (DCP) Human Resources Directorate structure has now been completed. This includes resourcing for the workforce strategy and organisational development functions.

    Recruitment has occurred to ensure these functions are resourced with sufficient specialist expertise.

    The Human Resources Directorate is now fully established and operational, and will continue to support DCP objectives through various workforce initiatives

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 22

Establish a learning and professional development unit in the agency to lead training and professional development, for both professional and operational staff.

  • Response to recommendation 22

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    The Department for Child Protection’s (DCP) Practice Development Team responsible for professional training and development has transitioned from the Quality and Practice Directorate into the Human Resources Directorate.

    A new corporate learning and development function has been established in the Human Resources, Organisational Culture and Capability Team.

    The two directorates will work collaboratively to address the professional and corporate learning and development requirements of DCP.

    A Learning and Development Strategy 2018-22 has been developed to guide the planning and delivery of organisational training and professional development, and a mandatory training framework is being finalised.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 23

Require professional staff in the agency to complete a minimum number of hours of professional development each year as a condition of their employment.

  • Response to recommendation 23

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    The minimum number of hours of professional development is now linked to registration of social workers and professional credentialing. The Department for Child Protection (DCP) is currently exploring possible approaches for the implementation of a social worker registration scheme in line with the government’s election commitment, including possible avenues for state-based legislation and/or a national approach through the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS).

    This registration of social workers has significant implications for social workers employed in a wide range of government and non-government settings and requires significant stakeholder engagement and consideration. DCP has been working with the Department for Health and Wellbeing, as the largest employers of social workers in the South Australian public sector, regarding impacts. DCP has also been involved in discussions with:

    • Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW)
    • University of South Australia
    • Flinders University
    • SA Council of Social Service (SACOSS)
    • Department for Health and Wellbeing

    Key aspects of this work will be informed by the Parliamentary Joint Committee, which was established in January 2018 to evaluate a Bill proposed by the Hon. Tammy Franks, MLC, regarding registration of social workers in South Australia.

    Status: Accepted in principle - Phase 2

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 24

Charge the executive of the agency, through the human resources unit, with a review of current practices and the development of evidence-based strategies relevant to:

  1. workforce records and data management
  2. workforce qualification profiles, including requiring any staff holding a case load to be degree qualified in a discipline relevant to child protection
  3. the recruitment, selection, induction and retention of staff, including managing all recruitment and selection centrally
  4. career, including management, pathways
  5. workload management
  6. performance planning, support and monitoring for enhanced staff performance
  7. professional development requirements, opportunities and resourcing, including adopting a professional development reimbursement program modelled on that operating in SA Health.
  • Response to recommendation 24

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    The Department for Child Protection (DCP) is implementing a number of activities addressing aspects of this recommendation, including development of a workforce profile to inform workforce planning and strategy that considers organisation and role design, attraction and retention, and career development.

    DCP has implemented the government's election commitment to broadening the acceptable qualifications for child protection workers, enabling other relevant degree qualifications to undertake case management roles. DCP is continuing to evaluate the role of non-degree qualified workers undertaking case management.

    Following the establishment of the Recruitment Team within the Human Resources (HR) Directorate, DCP is evaluating and developing its recruitment, selection, induction, orientation and retention systems and processes. Recruitment and selection processes for child and youth workers are centrally managed by HR, with appropriate input from Residential Care leadership. Campaign recruitment activities for other roles are centrally coordinated by HR with selection processes remaining the responsibility of service delivery teams. HR is developing recruitment and selection training to enhance practices and quality of recruitment and selection processes and outcomes.

    An organisational performance program has been established involving regular review and monitoring of service activity, flow and quality of services delivered across regions and out-of-home care.

    Staff performance development processes have been standardised. The HR Operations team has commenced training in managing unsatisfactory performance with leadership teams, with online training modules available for managers and employees. Other performance management related training, including Crucial Conversations and Transforming Conversations has been taking place across DCP. Monthly HR dashboard and employee summary reporting has been established, including data on Performance Development Plan (PDP) completion rates. An ongoing communications campaign promoting the PDP process is also now in place.

    DCP has reviewed and updated its study assistance program which includes provisions for professional development reimbursement.

    Status: Accepted in principle - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 25

Provide a psychological service to work with the executive to address the high levels of workplace stress in the agency.

  • Response to recommendation 25

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    The Department for Child Protection is developing a Staff Wellbeing Framework that will encompass a range of initiatives and activities that contribute to promoting and maintaining the psychological wellbeing of staff.

    The framework is being informed by a number of workplace indicators, including the 2018 public sector I WORK FOR SA staff survey. New Employee Assistance Program (EAP) providers and services have been introduced following a tender process undertaken in late 2018, and includes the provision of specific services for Aboriginal staff.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 26

Appoint clinical managers to each metropolitan hub and regional office of the agency and review professional line-management structures accordingly.

  • Response to recommendation 26

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    Status: Not accepted

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

    The South Australian Government does not accept this recommendation.

    The government accepts the Royal Commission’s comments at page 101 of 'The Life They Deservereport about ensuring that clinical decisions are made by appropriately qualified staff. However, instead of creating new clinical manager positions, the department will revisit the role and location of principal social workers to ensure that these workers are performing the functions described in the report at page 101.

    In addition, the reforms being progressed to ensure decision making occurs at the closest possible level to the child (recommendation 9), and that a child’s caseworker has primary responsibility for case management (recommendation 10), will drive better decision making across the department.

Recommendation 27

Invest in clinical management, supervision and practice improvement, including the development of a supervision framework.

  • Response to recommendation 27

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    A Department for Child Protection (DCP) Supervision Framework has been drafted and the sourcing of a professional supervision education program has commenced.

    In addition, as per recommendation 12, DCP is moving away from the Solution Based Casework (SBC) model and is developing a new practice approach to best meet the needs of children, young people and families in South Australia.

    Status: Accepted in Principle - Phase 2

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 28

Establish formal and regularly evaluated relationships between the agency and the tertiary education sector that are designed to:

  1. enhance student and academic knowledge and experience of child protection practice
  2. attract desirable graduates
  3. expand and focus child protection practice research
  4. ensure that the agency and its staff are kept abreast of contemporary professional research and literature.
  • Response to recommendation 28

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    The Department for Child Protection’s (DCP) Practice Development Team meet every three months with relevant universities across the state. The Student Social Work Program has been expanded with an additional AHP2 coordinator appointed on an ongoing basis.

    The Recruitment Team have established and are piloting a Graduate Employment Register for Social Work graduates, as a means to strengthen employment pathways for social work graduates into careers with DCP. The team continues to participate in university career events to promote employment opportunities within DCP.

    In June 2019, DCP held its inaugural Research Management Committee meeting with representation from across the child protection sector. The Committee is charged with:

    • Leading the development, implementation and ongoing monitoring of the DCP Research Framework.
    • Supporting a culture of responsible and ethical research practice that is child and family focused and culturally sensitive.
    • Determining DCP’s strategic research priorities and directions, including alignment of research to the organisation’s strategic priorities.
    • Reviewing, assessing, and making recommendations for research applications, amendments and publications to be endorsed against DCP’s priorities and guidelines.
    • Monitoring approved research progress until research is completed.
    • Reviewing draft research publications to approve publication.
    • Facilitating partnerships and collaborative activity with internal and external stakeholders.
    • Developing a Research Communications Strategy to ensure research findings are shared and translatable across DCP.

    DCP has recently collaborated in six completed tertiary research projects and is currently partnering in nine tertiary research projects, with three applications being considered.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 29

Establish a postdoctoral fellowship program in conjunction with the tertiary education sector to advance areas of research relevant to the agency.

  • Response to recommendation 29

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    The Early Intervention Research Directorate (EIRD) awarded funding of close to $1 million for two post-doctoral fellowship programs in October 2018.

    Five researchers at the Australian Centre for Child Protection and Flinders University will undertake new research that builds on previous studies undertaken following the 2016 Nyland Royal Commission.

    Research reports and more detail can be found on the EIRD website at www.dhs.sa.gov.au/eird.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department of Human Services

Recommendation 30

Require the agency to take a lead role with other stakeholders to develop and implement a workforce strategy designed to improve staffing practices and performance across the broader child protection system.

  • Response to recommendation 30

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    The Department of Human Service has commenced a series of co-design workshops to design a new system of child and family supports.

    The co-design process has involved working with front line workers, such as allied health and social work professionals as well as service users to look at how a connected system can be established that delivers the right service in a timely way. One area that is being explored as part of the co-design process is developing the workforce.

    In addition to this, the Department for Child Protection (DCP) is working on a trial of a community of practice approach. This will target disability practice, to grow practice knowledge across the sector’s workforce.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 3

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 31

Maintain the current mandatory reporting threshold set out in section 11 of the Children’s Protection Act 1993.

  • Response to recommendation 31

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    June 2017

    The Children and Young People (Safety) Bill 2017 maintains the current mandatory reporting threshold.

    The Bill was introduced into Parliament on 14 February 2017 and is currently before the Legislative Council.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

    The South Australian Government accepts this recommendation.

    Under the Children’s Protection Act 1993 (SA), people in a range of professional or voluntary positions are required to notify the Department for Child Protection if they reasonably suspect that a child has been or is being abused or neglected, and that this suspicion is formed in the course of the person’s paid or voluntary work.

    In 'The Life They Deserve', the Royal Commission rejects the assumption that growing demand on our child protection system is a result of unnecessary notifications to the department, encouraged by a low mandatory reporting threshold in comparison to other states.

    The South Australian Government will maintain the current legislative threshold for mandatory reporting. Instead, demand on the system will be reduced over the longer term through investment in early intervention and prevention programs.

Recommendation 32

Review the screening and response priority tools to ensure they give due weight to cumulative harm, chronic neglect, social isolation, underlying causes of dysfunction, the need to conduct timely forensic medical assessments, and the expertise and experience of professional notifiers.

  • Response to recommendation 32

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    The Department for Child Protection (DCP) currently uses Structured Decision Making (SDM) screening and response priority tools. A revision of SDM tools was completed in October 2018 and implemented in the DCP Call Centre following extensive training to staff. All relevant Call Centre staff are now trained to give due weight to cumulative harm and associated risk factors.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 33

  • Response to recommendation 33

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    The review of screened out notifications to ensure correct threshold is being applied as part of standard practice in the Department for Child Protection’s Call Centre in direct response to this recommendation and as an ongoing quality assurance task.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 34

Invest in the professional development of the agency’s Call Centre practitioners, including, but not limited, to:

  1. the implementation of case reading
  2. regular clinical supervision
  3. the introduction of a tailored induction program
  4. ongoing training in the specific skills required of Call Centre practitioners.
  • Response to recommendation 34

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    The Department for Child Protection (DCP) is committed to the ongoing learning and development of DCP Call Centre staff. Case reading, clinical supervision, professional development opportunities and monitoring progress of new staff has been introduced to ensure consistent and appropriate staff development is a key focus of the Call Centre leadership team.

    Investment in this area will continue to be a priority for DCP.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 35

Implement the automated call-back feature at the Call Centre for a trial period, followed by an assessment to determine whether its ongoing use is justified.

  • Response to recommendation 35

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    The Department for Child Protection’s Child Abuse Report Line (CARL) call-back system has been fully implemented and has been operational since July 2018.

    In 2018-19 there were 3,918 call-backs made, with zero abandonment rate, 3,890 answered within two hours, at an average of 99.3% of call-backs made within two hours. A message is left in cases where the notifier is not available to receive the returned call.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 36

Staff the Call Centre at a level that would permit the achievement of the following service benchmarks:

  1. a maximum waiting time of 30 minutes for a telephone call to be answered
  2. a maximum of 24 hours to assess an eCARL notification
  3. a maximum delay of 2 hours for a call back.
  • Response to recommendation 36

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    Strategies to improve call wait and processing times for the online reporting system (eCARL) are being implemented to achieve sustainable improvements.

    Review of the Department for Child Protection Call Centre’s data over the past 12-month period indicates a significant improvement. The average wait time in 2018-19 for answered calls to the Child Abuse Report Line (CARL) was 11 minutes 1 second, while in 2017-18 the average call wait time was 15 minutes 46 seconds. The data for 2018-19 indicates that the monthly average call wait time has not exceeded 15 minutes.

    In addition to this, a CARL Call Back system has operated since July 2018. In 2018-19, there were 3,918 call-backs made, with zero abandonment rate, 3,890 answered within two hours, at an average of 99.3%.  A message is left in cases where the notifier is not available to receive the returned call.

    The continued monitoring and evaluation of the standards set in this recommendation are a priority for the Call Centre leadership team.

    Status: Accepted in principle - Phase 2

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 37

Ensure that the Call Centre is never left unattended. Crisis Care staffing levels should be immediately increased to no fewer than 3 staff at each shift.

  • Response to recommendation 37

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    June 2018

    The Child Safety Pathway intake service model, implementation plan and supporting quality assurance and performance framework have been developed.

    To build the capacity of the call centre, additional employees have now been recruited. An on-call roster system has been integrated into the staff rotation which ensures the call centre is never left unattended.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

    The South Australian Government accepted this recommendation on 8 August 2016.

    The implementation of the Child Safety Pathway, and the effects of additional resources that will be deployed to support Call Centre and Pathway operations will be designed to ensure that this recommendation is implemented.

Recommendation 38

Abandon the proposal to engage unqualified call agents to receive telephone notifications. Telephone calls from notifiers must only be taken by degree-level, tertiary qualified and experienced practitioners.

  • Response to recommendation 38

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    Status: Accepted - Completed

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

    The South Australian Government accepted this recommendation on 8 August 2016.

    The pilot project to engage unqualified call agents to receive telephone notifications was abandoned on 12 August 2016.

    As part of the development of a new child protection system and the trialling of a new Child Safety Pathway, the government intends to employ qualified call agents with relevant tertiary degrees in social and human services.

Recommendation 39

Update, as a matter of urgency, public information concerning the services offered by the Crisis Care service.

  • Response to recommendation 39

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    Status: Accepted - Completed

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

    The South Australian Government accepted this recommendation on 8 August 2016.

    Public information on the new Department for Child Protection website has been updated. Out-of-date information has been removed from the Department for Education and Child Development website.

    Non-government agencies who maintain websites with out-dated information are being identified, contacted and provided with a new description of Crisis Care services.

Recommendation 40

Provide automated electronic feedback to all notifiers, confirming receipt of their notification (in the case of eCARL). Post-assessment, what screening and response priority assessments were made in relation to their notifications.

  • Response to recommendation 40

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    All individuals who provide notification about suspected abuse or neglect through the Department for Child Protection’s online reporting system (eCARL) receive an automated message informing them that the notification has been received.

    An assessment to determine the appropriateness of providing notifiers with additional, post-assessment information will be undertaken as part of Phase 2 of reform implementation improvements.

    Status: Accepted in Principle - Phase 2

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 41

Record notifications directly into an electronic log sheet that pre-populates the C3MS intake record.

  • Response to recommendation 41

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    An Electronic Log Sheet (ELS) has now been developed and is fully implemented into the Connected Client and Case Management System (C3MS).

    The Department for Child Protection (DCP) will continue to improve the efficiency and user experience of C3MS.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 42

Review and improve the efficiency of recording practices of Notifier Only Concerns (NOCs).

  • Response to recommendation 42

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    The Department for Child Protection’s Call Centre leadership team has conducted a review of the efficiency of recording and the assessment of Notifier Only Concerns in the context of the Connected Client and Case Management System (C3MS) review.

    As a result, changes to practice have been implemented by the Call Centre leadership team and further work is underway to develop practices related to referral and expansion of diversionary options.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 43

Ensure the agency regains control of, and strictly oversees, mandatory notification training, including creating and updating an appropriate training package and a mandatory notifiers’ guide, and regularly auditing training to ensure fidelity.

  • Response to recommendation 43

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    Planning continues to develop a comprehensive quality assurance framework which will contribute to ensuring the fidelity of the Safe Environments training program.

    The framework will focus on continuous improvement in the quality of the Safe Environments trainers through regular audits and other compliance mechanisms.

    Status: Accepted in Principle - Phase 2

    Lead agency: Department of Human Services

Recommendation 44

Make mandatory notification training compulsory for:

  1. registered teachers
  2. general medical practitioners
  3. police officers
  4. other mandated notifiers who are employees of, or volunteer in, a government or non-government organisation that provides health, welfare, education, sporting or recreational, childcare or residential services wholly or partly for children, where the notifier either
    (a) is engaged in the actual delivery of those services to children or
    (b) holds a management position in the relevant organisation, the duties of which include direct responsibility for, or direct supervision of, the provision of those services to children.
  • Response to recommendation 44

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    Section 14(2)(b) of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 requires the Department for Child Protection (DCP) Chief Executive, to ensure that education relating to the operation of section 31 is made available to persons who are required under that section to report a suspicion that a child or young person is, or may be, at risk. In addition, section 114 of the Act requires certain organisations working with children to prepare or adopt policies and procedures that ensure that the requirements of Chapter 5, Part 1 (reporting of suspicion that a child or young person may be at risk) are satisfied and to provide a statement to the Chief Executive about these policies and procedures.

    Two training programs are currently offered to staff and volunteers in organisations required to ensure safe environments for children and young people, Safe Environments for Children and Young People: Through their Eyes which is provided by public training providers and Responding to Abuse and Neglect in Education and Care which is required of anyone working or volunteering at a Department for Education site.

    A Mandatory Notifier Guide (MRG) is publicly available on the DCP website. The MRG was developed to provide essential guidance to mandatory notifiers when making a notification and has been designed through consultation and training activities in collaboration with high use notifiers, including South Australia Police, the Department for Education and the Department for Health and Wellbeing.

    Four half-day train the trainer training sessions were delivered by the Children’s Research Centre in September 2018 with over 100 participants across government and non-government agencies. DCP continues to provide MRG training and scope options to embed the MRG into an interactive format.

    Status: Accepted in principle - Phase 2

    Lead agency: Department for Education

Recommendation 45

Restrict access to eCARL to notifiers who have completed mandated notifier training.

  • Response to recommendation 45

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    Planning and assessment has commenced to review eCARL functionality, including options for restricting access to eCARL for mandated notifiers.

    Status: Accepted in Principle - Phase 2

    Lead agency: Department for Education

    The South Australian Government accepts this recommendation in principle.

    eCARL is a valuable tool that assists notifiers to efficiently inform the Department for Child Protection about concerns it may hold about children.

    For the online portal to be most effective, it is agreed that restricting access to individuals who have completed notifier training is required. This would ensure that only notifiers who are better equipped to determine whether a notification warrants a report, make reports online. This should result in higher quality information being received, fewer screened-out notifications and more time available to Call Centre staff to make informed assessments.

    The Department for Child Protection will evaluate options for how best to implement a restricted access system.

Recommendation 46

Include an interactive mandatory notifier guide at the start of eCARL.

  • Response to recommendation 46

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    A Mandatory Notifier Guide (MRG) has now been finalised and is publicly available on the Department for Child Protection (DCP) website. The MRG provides essential guidance to mandatory notifiers when making an eCARL notification and has been designed through consultation and training activities in collaboration with high use notifiers, including South Australia Police, the Department for Education and the Department for Health and Wellbeing.

    Four half-day train the trainer training sessions were delivered by the Children’s Research Centre in September 2018 with over 100 participants across government and non-government agencies. DCP continues to scope options to embed the MRG into an interactive format.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 47

Amend Part 4, Division 1, of the Children’s Protection Act 1993 to include a new provision permitting, but not requiring, a notifier to report concerns about an unborn child, regardless of the stage of pregnancy.

  • Response to recommendation 47

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    The remaining provisions of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 came into operation on 22 October 2018, including section 31(3).

    This section includes provisions for reporting a suspicion that a child or young person may be at risk, including the physical or psychological development of an unborn child. As to this recommendation, no regulations have been made in relation to the relevant provisions of the Act. The implementation of this recommendation is effectively complete.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

Recommendation 48

Abandon the policy restricting the recording of Report on Unborn (ROU) children to 34 weeks’ gestation or later.

  • Response to recommendation 48

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    Status: Accepted - Completed

    Lead agency: Department for Child Protection (DCP)

    The South Australian Government accepted this recommendation on 12 August 2016.

    The policy restricting the recording of ROU children to 34 weeks’ gestation or later has been abandoned.

    The Interagency Code of Practice published in July 2016 now states that an Unborn Child Concern should be recorded as an intake from 20 weeks gestation or later. The Code of Practice was developed by an across Government and sector committee including key stakeholders from SA Health, SAPOL and the Department for Education and Child Development.

    A Practice Circular document was developed to provide an update on the ‘report on unborn policy’ and was circulated to Department for Child Protection staff on 20 October 2016.

Recommendation 49

Institute longer term funding arrangements for prevention and early intervention services, subject to evaluation and performance criteria.

  • Response to recommendation 49

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    September 2019

    As part of the reforms to reduce red tape and improve contracting arrangements between State Government and the Not-for-Profit sector, the South Australian Not-For-Profit (NFP) Funding Policy and Standardised Indexation Policy came into effect in July 2017 with a transition period to January 2018 (see Department of the Premier and Cabinet Circular 044).

    This provided that where appropriate, public authorities would offer longer term contracts (three years plus three years plus three years) to enable strong, ongoing relationships.

    In March 2019, the South Australian Government announced the implementation of a Child and Family Support System (CFSS). The decision to create the new system was based on evidence from the Early Intervention Research Directorate's (EIRD) research program.

    CFSS will be an integrated system that delivers timely, evidence-based support services so that more children can live safely with their families and fewer need to enter out-of-home care.

    Implementation of the new system is underway, including consolidating government-delivered and commissioned early intervention and prevention services under a single unit in the Department of Human Services.

    EIRD is leading a co-design process with stakeholders across the sector to design key elements of the new system, including commissioning arrangements, referral pathways and monitoring and evaluation processes. A key focus area for co-design is ensuring the system is better able to support Aboriginal children and families.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department of Human Services

Recommendation 50

Establish an Early Intervention Research Directorate (EIRD) to:

  1. prepare a Prevention and Early Intervention Strategy that is updated at least every 5 years:
    1. to identify service models that have proved effective or show promise in promoting the health, safety and wellbeing of children in South Australia
    2. to serve as the basis of decisions by South Australian Government agencies to fund prevention and early intervention services
    3. to form the basis of negotiations with the federal and local governments, with a view to coordinating funding priorities
  2. establish research partnerships and fund evaluations of innovative service models to determine their effectiveness and value for money
  3. focus on the prevention and early intervention investment priorities identified in this report.
  • Response to recommendation 50

    Progress update

    1. Not yet commenced
    2. Planning
    3. Implementing
    4. Completed

    June 2018

    The Early Intervention Research Directorate (EIRD) developed its Prevention and Early Intervention Strategy, following extensive consultation, research and data analysis. The strategy provides a high level framework for whole-of-government evidence-based action to support the state's children and families vulnerable to child abuse and neglect.

    The strategy contains 4 strategic themes through which action will be driven:

    • support our most vulnerable
    • prioritise Aboriginal children, families and cultures
    • strengthen the system
    • build the evidence.

    EIRD (established in December 2016) will continue to provide the SA Government with the evidence-base to guide decisions about prevention and early intervention for child abuse and neglect.

    EIRD's partnership with the academic External Expert Consortium and the Office for Data Analytics ensures peer-reviewed national and international research, as well as locally-commissioned research and evaluations that are specific to the South Australian community and context build on the evidence-base to inform future decisions.

    Status: Accepted - Phase 1

    Lead agency: Department of Human Services

    The South Australian Government accepts this recommendation.

    The South Australian Government has partnered with the BetterStart Child Health and Development Research Group (Adelaide University), the Australian Centre for Child Protection and the Fraser Mustard Centre to establish the Early Intervention Research Directorate (EIRD) within the Department of the Premier and Cabinet (DPC).

    EIRD has been tasked with leading the implementation of recommendations 29, 49, and 192.

    Initial areas of focus for the EIRD will be:

    • to undertake data analytics to better understand the experiences of children within the child protection system, and when, where and how it is most effective for support services to intervene
    • to develop a best practice evaluation framework for early intervention and prevention programs
    • to conduct a service audit, monitoring and planning to maximise the impacts of investments in service delivery for vulnerable children
    • to include a specific focus on reducing the over-representation of Aboriginal children in the child protection system through better enhanced understanding and suitable approaches to early intervention and prevention.

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