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Measuring and improving outcomes for children in out of home care: Evolution of the UK Looking After Children Assessment and Action Records in Victoria.

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Presentation on theme: "Measuring and improving outcomes for children in out of home care: Evolution of the UK Looking After Children Assessment and Action Records in Victoria."— Presentation transcript:

1 Measuring and improving outcomes for children in out of home care: Evolution of the UK Looking After Children Assessment and Action Records in Victoria Presentation to ACWA Conference 2010 Sarah Wise 1, Cathy Argus 1 and Ruth Champion 2 1 Anglicare Victoria 2 Department of Human Services

2 Presentation overview Overview of Looking After Children framework Redevelopment of LAC AAR project; background, information sources and key findings Key modifications to the original AARs Main design and content features of new Assessment and Progress Records Current status of Assessment and Progress Records

3 What is Looking After Children? Best practice framework for children and young people in out of home care Aims to improve outcomes for children and young people in out of home care by ensuring an effective care team does collaboratively all the “ordinary good things” that parents generally do to address the child’s safety, stability and developmental needs

4 Four key LAC tools The Essential Information Record The Care and Placement Plan (which is an essential component of the overall statutory Best Interests Case Plan) The Assessment and Action Record The Review of the Care and Placement Plan

5 Assessment and Progress Record Heart of the LAC system Assesses how children are progressing and the extent to which they are given the opportunity to succeed Completed for every child in care for six months and thereafter annually (bi- annually for children under school age) Covers seven life areas; health, emotional and behavioural development, education, family and social relationships, identity, social presentation and self-care skills Has six different age related formats: <12months, 1-2 years, 3-4 years, 5-9 years, years and 15+ years

6 Dual purpose of Assessment and Action Record To ensure that what is known about good parenting informs the care of children and young people in out of home care and To provide aggregate data to assess service and client outcomes and direct policy

7 Why redevelop the Assessment and Action Records? Developed in UK more than 20 years ago; advances in the science of human development and outcomes measurement Little local adaptation, including appropriateness for certain client groups (eg. ATSI, kinship) Range of data collection, recording and documentation requirements in addition to LAC Redeveloped formats in countries such as UK (APRs) and Canada (CANLAC) Potential to enhance use of AARs to generate client outcomes data (Wise & Egger, 2009)

8 Aims of LAC AAR redevelopment project: Practice agenda Enhance the AARs to support best practice in out of home care through: Streamlining data collection and information recording processes Enhancing cultural appropriateness of AARs and Ensuring suitability for use in kinship care, children from CALD backgrounds and children with disabilities.

9 Aims of LAC AAR redevelopment project: Outcomes data agenda Enhance the AARs to support the collection and collation of high quality outcomes data about children and young people in out of home care by: Improving reliability of information recorded on the AARs and Creating links to state-wide outcomes data collection processes and general population surveys for comparison purposes.

10 Information to inform the redevelopment process DHS practitioner Feedback Forms (N = 30) CREATE Foundation consultation report SNAICC/LAC Project Cultural Care Planning Project consultations with ACCOs about cultural appropriateness of AARs Anglicare Victoria stakeholder consultations –Stakeholder feedback on specific practice issues –Stakeholder feedback on improving outcomes monitoring capacity Content analysis of international AAR formats Content analysis of relevant child wellbeing surveys

11 Findings on duplication issues Considerable duplication between the AARs and other DHS required reporting processes Further action section was considered redundant given Care and Placement Plan and frustrating to complete if no further action required Duplication between AAR and Essential Information Record also identified

12 Findings on use of AARs with ATSI clients Concern about recording of sensitive information on a written record Some racist language Some change to certain terminology (eg. use of ancestral) Need for additional items in identity domain

13 Findings on use of AARs with other special client groups Generally appropriate for CALD clients Some items not applicable to disabled clients Preference for more qualitative description of progress of children with disabilities Kinship carers likely to find some of the questions useful Forms need to be simpler and shorter for kinship carers

14 Findings on other practice issues Design and layout not engaging Too long Too much information in margins Parenting ‘tips’ not comprehensive and outdated Technical and formal language off-putting Items on home safety and quality of care redundant and ‘offensive’ to carers Items on risky health behaviours too confronting and would not elicit honest responses from YP Better assessment of self-care skills required in 15+

15 Findings on issues for the collection of outcomes data No special assessment of disabled children required Mixed response to collection of data in quantitative/closed-ended format Some items ambiguous Assessment of emotional and behavioural development outdated Suitable measures in state-wide outcomes surveys and international AAR formats Need for new items for to reflect experience of contemporary childhood/adolescence Education outcomes poorly completed Response options not consistent with OOHC information recoding system

16 Findings on implementation issues Lack of clarity as to the purpose and intent of the AARs and particular confusion around AARs and life book work Evidence of lack of skills in assessment/information gathering especially in relation to eliciting sensitive information from young people

17 Key modifications to the original Assessment and Action Records

18 Revision of information in margins and updating of all service contact information 

19 Removal of action component 

20 Key features of the new Assessment and Progress Records

21 Clarification on who in care team to complete information   Inclusion of items used in state-wide outcomes monitoring Response options consistent with CRISP 

22 Inclusion of tabs & reordering of life domains for consistency with other OoHC records   Addition of new items in education domain focussing on SGGs and IEPs

23 Addition of space to record narrative responses  Design features to appeal to young people 

24 New items to reflect contemporary experience of childhood /adolescence   More engaging presentation of information for young people

25  Separation of items for specific sub- groups (includes not attending school, ATSI, disability) New items on education aspirations 

26  New item prompting practitioners to review progress at end of ‘objectives’ section (CANLAC)

27 New section to record notes to feed into C&PP (CANLAC) 

28 Other features of the new APRs Change of name Removal of quality of care/home safety items Revised measures (self-care skills(15+ format), emotional and behavioural development, education outcomes, family contact, health problems and accidents/injuries) Additional identity items (ATSI clients) and items on childcare use, SIDS prevention and use of video games and computers Skips and item modifications for children with a disability Written guidance to assist with implementation (eg. statement of purpose, preamble to certain items, instructions on completion for children with disabilities)

29 Status of new Assessment and Progress Record Currently being piloted in all seven DHS regions Implementation supported by training provided by Anglicare Victoria through the Centre for Excellence Initial feedback extremely positive Possibilities for CSOs and DHS to aggregate APR data


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