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:
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 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..
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
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?
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
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’
NSW DoCS cf AIHW figures Changes over time Children vs reports Interpreting the figures ◦ Increased awareness and reporting ? ◦ Increased abuse and neglect?
Based on figure from Eric Scott (2006)
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
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 ] *
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
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
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
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,
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
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.
Source: CIS & KiDS annual statistical extracts, Corporate Information Warehouse annual data. Produced by, DoCS Information and Reporting. Child protection reports by primary reported issue, &
Source: KiDS Annual Statistical Extract, Corporate Information Warehouse annual data. Produced by: Information and Reporting.
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
* 7,892 Indigenous (27.7%)
* Indigenous rate: 36.1 cf non-Indigenous: 4.4
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