An interactive simulated training program is helping social workers at the Department for Child Protection (DCP) learn to better manage risk and improve decision-making by getting them to work through real-life situations.

‘Rosie Safe’, which is a training program based on the child protection simulation ‘Rosie 2’ developed by the University of Kent in the UK, was introduced in 2018 and has since been undertaken by 175 staff.

South Australia is believed to be the first in the country to implement this training program in a child protection setting.

The training program was rolled out in response to the Nyland Royal Commission, which recommended the agency provide training, supervision and support to better equip staff in assessment of risk and safety planning.

DCP Executive Director of Service Delivery and Practice Sue Macdonald said ‘Rosie Safe’ was an innovative way of delivering training to child protection staff across the state.

“Staff are given some supporting documents prior to the training, including a genogram, case consultation document, a Family Preservation case plan and a new notification,” Sue said.

“During the learning program, staff view the Rosie simulation via a big screen, and then work together in pairs to develop a safety plan, complete a safety assessment and complete a decision rationale showing their decision-making processes.

“It is intended that the program simulates what happens in the real world, in real interactions with families.”

The simulation allows staff to immerse themselves into a real life setting and provides opportunity to reflect on how to appropriately respond in complex cases.

Sue said staff had responded well to the training program, which has been delivered to both metropolitan and regional staff.

“Staff have told us the simulated training program has allowed them to build on their confidence and professionally debate how they would approach safety planning and assessments for certain situations,” she said.

The department’s Practice Development team have also delivered a version of the ‘Rosie Safe’ program to nearly 100 Masters of Social Work students at the University of South Australia (UniSA) in both 2018 and 2019.

A formal evaluation of the ‘Rosie Safe’ program will be undertaken in the near future in partnership with the University of Kent and UniSA.