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January 2008 Judy Cashmore.  To examine, report on and make recommendations in relation to: i. The system for reporting of child abuse and neglect, including.

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Presentation on theme: "January 2008 Judy Cashmore.  To examine, report on and make recommendations in relation to: i. The system for reporting of child abuse and neglect, including."— Presentation transcript:

1 January 2008 Judy Cashmore

2  To examine, report on and make recommendations in relation to: i. The system for reporting of child abuse and neglect, including mandatory reporting, reporting thresholds and feedback to reporters; ii. Management of reports, including the adequacy and efficiency of systems and processes for intake, assessment, prioritisation, investigation and decision-making; iii. Management of cases requiring ongoing work, including referrals for services and monitoring and supervision of families; iv. Recording of essential information and capacity to collate and utilise data about the child protection system to target resources efficiently; v. Professional capacity and professional supervision of the casework and allied staff; vi. The adequacy of the current statutory framework for child protection including roles and responsibilities of mandatory reporters, DoCS, the courts and oversight agencies; vii. The adequacy of arrangements for inter-agency cooperation in child protection cases; viii. The adequacy of arrangements for children in out of home care; ix. The adequacy of resources in the child protection system..

3  Increasing reports / notifications – inadequate response  Concern that definitions of abuse and neglect are too broad – ‘risk of harm’ vs ‘significant harm’  Under-reporting and over-reporting  Concern about forensic investigative response rather than holistic response to child’s needs – 2002 inquiry  Poor risk assessment ? Unrealistic expectations  Need for proactive preventive approach, not just reactive response

4  Multi-problem families esp parental violence, drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness  Particular concern re infants and neglect esp Indigenous families  Managing reunification – longer term support needed  Increasing concern about failures of system  Shortage of appropriate foster carers esp Indigenous families ◦ Increasing expectations ◦ Increasingly difficult care-giving  Lack of specialist workers – low priority work, relationship with children?

5  Duty to investigate all reports? ◦ Ability to prioritise? ◦ Over-burdened services -> labeling but no service  Mandatory reporting ◦ Who should report what? (s.29) ◦ Rgularising reporters – previously by law, regulation, direction etc  Inter-agency responsibility  Partnership with parents and families?  Need for proper assessment re immediate safety, risk of harm, needs of child and family  Focus on outcomes for children rather than actions of parents/carers

6  Purpose of definition – reports vs requests for assistance (esp ‘inadequate provision’ vs poverty)  Different levels of severity for: ◦ Reporting abuse – mandatory reporting ◦ Responding to abuse ◦ Taking court action  Clearer focus on current concerns based on severity and chronicity and harm or risk of harm  Inclusion of exposure to domestic violence and homelessness but ‘serious psychological harm’

7  NSW DoCS cf AIHW figures  Changes over time  Children vs reports  Interpreting the figures ◦ Increased awareness and reporting ? ◦ Increased abuse and neglect?

8 Based on figure from Eric Scott (2006)

9  Very similar trends for number of reports but AIHW lower in number of reports ◦ Not include ‘child protection concerns’ ◦ Both DoCS and AIHW count each child in the family - include one report per child if more than one child per family ◦ AIHW counts more than one report about the same ‘event’ as one report ◦ DoCS figures suggest that on average DoCS receives two reports per child

10  Very similar trends and numbers for number of children: ◦ : no of children reported / notified  NSW DoCS: 109,568  AIHW: 85,302 [99,949 in ] * ◦ : no of children in substantiated reports  NSW DoCS: 12,956 (3,771 at risk; 9,185 actual harm)  AIHW: 12,627 [13,769 in ] *

11  Quite similar numbers of reports till ie 30-40,000 [AIHW figures]  Victoria consistently around 36-37,000 this decade  NSW increased from 30,398 in  to ,208 in  and ,498 in  and...189,928 in

12 Based on AIHW figures AIHW figures NSWVictoria NotificationSubstantiationNotification Substantiation ,3986,47736,8057, ,9377,50136,9667, ,2088,60637,9767, ,49816,76537,6357, ,541n.a.37,9567, ,63615,49337,5237, ,80629,80937,9877, ,92837,09438,6756,828

13 Source of report % of reports [DoCS] % of finalised * investigations [AIHW] Police Medical/health School /child care NGO Other mandatory reporters 5.8 Mandatory reporters75.6% Family Friend/neighbour Non-Mandatory reporters 24.4% * Finalised, not substantiated

14 Specific reported issue No of of reports % of reports Domestic violence 77, Neglect 50, Drug and alcohol 49, Drug issues only 29, Alcohol issues only 24,

15  Broadened definitions of abuse and neglect ◦ eg physical abuse/punishment; exposure to violence  Lowered threshold – ‘risk of harm’ / “serious psychological harm”  Expansion of mandatory reporting...  Defensive reporting - $22,000 fine ?  Frustrated reporting – renotifications – lack of services?  Increased recording – centralised call centres cf local CSCs  Gateway to early intervention services via child protection system in NSW?  Increased ‘investigations  [more substantations]  Increasing societal ‘risk aversiveness’ – decreasing tolerance  Increasing incidence /awareness of parental substance abuse, family violence, mental health – Vic report; NSW DoCS data

16 Source: KiDS Annual Statistical Extracts and Corporate Information Warehouse annual data. Source: KiDS Annual Statistical Extracts and Corporate Information Warehouse annual data. Produced by, DoCS Information and Reporting.

17 Source: CIS & KiDS annual statistical extracts, Corporate Information Warehouse annual data. Produced by, DoCS Information and Reporting. Child protection reports by primary reported issue, &

18 Source: KiDS Annual Statistical Extract, Corporate Information Warehouse annual data. Produced by: Information and Reporting.

19  Search for evidence  What happened to whom?  Who is responsible?  Focus on substantiating allegations  Focus on individual incidents of reported abuse / neglect  Focus on early intervention  Less adversarial  What is needed to ensure child’s safety, welfare and well-being? ◦ Family support ◦ Comprehensive assessment ◦ Context and cumulative harm ◦ Range of options

20 * 7,892 Indigenous (27.7%)

21 * Indigenous rate: 36.1 cf non-Indigenous: 4.4

22

23

24  Sustainability  Dealing with increased ‘reporting’  Dealing with increased abuse, neglect, inadequate parenting  Resources for children in out-of-home care  Indigenous children  Coherence of legislation, policy and practice


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