Issue Six Keep Them Safe Website Manage your subscription

Keep Them Safe Anniversary lunch

Keep Them Safe Anniversary Lunch

The importance of sharing responsibility for children’s safety and wellbeing was at the heart of Commissioner Wood’s inquiry into the child protection system.

Twelve months after the Government released its response to the Commissioner’s inquiry, the lead Minister for Keep Them Safe, Linda Burney, invited leaders representing various sectors involved with children to a lunchtime meeting at Parliament House to discuss progress.

Guest of honour was the Hon. James Wood, AO. The event was also attended by Attorney General John Hatzistergos.

Reflections from the non-government sector were given by Andrew McCallum from the Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies, Bill Pritchard of AbSec, Sue Richards of FamS NSW, Foster Care Ambassador Jill De’ath, and Alison Peters of NCOSS.

Reports were also received from Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione; NSW Health Director-General, Professor Debora Picone; Director-General of Department of Human Services, Jenny Mason; and Community Services Chief Executive, Annette Gallard.

The perspective of oversight bodies was provided by the Ombudsman Bruce Barbour, President of the Children’s Court Judge Mark Marien, and former Commissioner for Children and Young People, Gillian Calvert.

“I came away with two strong impressions,” said Minister Burney. “The first was that we are only just past the starting line. This is a major reform process that will require a long period of time with sustained commitment from everyone involved.

“The second was that everyone who attended the meeting was genuinely engaged in Keep Them Safe and determined to use Justice Wood’s inquiry as the catalyst to make systemic change to enable more children to be protected and able to grow and develop.

“I was very heartened to see Justice Wood’s vision of shared responsibility in action.”

Discussions at the meeting were frank and valid concerns were canvassed, but overall what came through was the spirit of cooperation of all agencies and NGOs at the leadership level and a determination to continue the work needed to see that cooperation extended throughout these organisations.

The group agreed that while many obstacles have been overcome to reach this stage of Keep Them Safe, this is only the first year in a five-year strategy. There are still tough challenges to work through in implementing change of this scale, but it is critical that the momentum that has been created is maintained.

Memorandum of Understanding between Community Services and AbSec

Memorandum of Understanding between Community Services and AbSecOn 17 March 2010, a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was agreed to by the NSW Aboriginal, Child, Family and Community Care Secretariat (AbSec) and Community Services. The agreement, which was signed by Bill Pritchard, Chief Executive Officer, AbSec, and Annette Gallard, Chief Executive, Community Services, at Parliament House, recognises the need for ongoing collaboration to better protect Aboriginal children and help support their families.

The MoU supports the Keep Them Safe focus of reducing the current over-representation of Aboriginal children and families in the NSW child protection system. Two projects to achieve this will be developed in partnership between Community Services and AbSec:

  • Developing a specialist Aboriginal advice and support service for child protection which focuses on the need to work directly with families.
  • Establishing four Intensive Family Based Services to provide intensive, home-based programs for Aboriginal families whose children are at risk of entering care or those children currently in care who are to be restored to their families.

Minister for Community Services Linda Burney said this will empower Aboriginal communities to participate in decision-making regarding the care and protection of their children.

The signed Memorandum of Understanding is now available on the Keep Them Safe website.

Upcoming training

Registrations are now open for early childhood/Children’s Services sector training being run by Keep Them Safe and TAFE NSW. The training is scheduled to run from end March to mid-June. Register here.

Training on the Mandatory Reporter Guide and information exchange is also planned for early 2010. More information will be made available in future newsletters and on the Keep Them Safe website.

Regional Project Managers update

Keep Them Safe Regional Project Managers have now been appointed in nine regions across NSW, with recruitment underway in Queanbeyan and Central Coast. Regional Project Managers (RPMs) will work with justice and human services agencies and non-government organisations to support regional delivery of the Keep Them Safe action plan. These new staff recently attended a three-day induction program in Sydney to learn more about Keep Them Safe and get to know each other.

RPMs are based in the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) Regional Coordination office in the following locations:

Location Name DPC region or subregion
Gosford Kylie Faulder* Central Coast
Newcastle Michael Adderley Hunter
Wollongong Rod Plant Illawarra
Queanbeyan Jane Beaumont* South East
Armidale Trisha Moore New England/North West
Coffs Harbour Merryl Wilson North Coast
Dubbo Roger Petheram Western NSW
Wagga Wagga Donna Argus Riverina-Murray
Parramatta Mathew Ferguson South West Sydney
Parramatta Megan Neale Western Sydney
Sydney CBD Charith De Silva Coastal Sydney

* DPC Project Manager, covering KTS issues until RPM appointed

Family Referral Services

On 16 March 2010, NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Health, Carmel Tebbutt, and the NSW Minister for Community Services, Linda Burney, announced the three organisations that were awarded the successful tenders to pilot Family Referral Services (FRS) in the Dubbo, Newcastle and Mt Druitt locations.

UnitingCare Children, Young People, and Families will pilot an augmented FRS with an Indigenous focus in Dubbo, a telephone service will be piloted by Relationships Australia (NSW) in Mount Druitt, and Newcastle will be serviced by an augmented service piloted by The Benevolent Society.

The catchment area of the UnitingCare FRS will include Wellington, Walgett, Narromine, Coonamble, Parkes, Bogan, Gilgandra, Warrumbungles, Brewarrina, Bourke, Cowra, Forbes, Condobolin, Warren, Orange, Cobar, Mudgee, Blayney. An augmented service will be provided from a Drop-in Centre in Dubbo and supplemented by home visiting and an outreach bus (the FRS Get Connected Bus) servicing remote and rural areas.

The Benevolent Society augmented FRS will service the Central Coast, Lake Macquarie, Lower and Upper Hunter areas, extending to Muswellbrook in the West, Newcastle to the East, Gosford in the South and including the localities of Cessnock, Dungog, Gloucester, Maitland, Port Stephens, Singleton and Wyong, with a telephone service based in Rutherford.

Relationships Australia (NSW) telephone FRS in Mount Druitt will service Whalan, Tregear, Lethbridge Park, Emerton, Blackett, Dharruk, Hebersham, Bidwill, Blackett, Shalvey, Willmot, Hassall Grove, Minchinbury, Oakhurst, Plumpton Glendenning and Rooty Hill (and includes suburbs bounded by the M4 motorway to the south, Ropes Creek to the West, Richmond Road to the North and Eastern Creek to the East).

The outcomes of the pilots will inform the NSW Government decision on the statewide roll-out of this new service over the next four years. NSW Health has also engaged an external consultant to undertake an independent evaluation of the pilots and formulate recommendations for the most effective service model.

More details are available in the Family Referral Services media release.

New KTS homepage

The Keep Them Safe website has been refreshed with a new-look homepage. The redesigned homepage makes it easier for users to find existing information, while also prominently displaying recent updates. Remember to check the homepage regularly for updates, including future training.

Keep Them Safe Evaluation Framework

Keep Them Safe included a commitment to progressively evaluate implementation of the action plan over its five years and the effects of the new child protection system on outcomes for children, young people and their families. To achieve this, a Keep Them Safe Evaluation Framework is being developed.

Consultation with government agencies and non-government organisations has been conducted. The Framework is expected to be completed by end of April 2010. Comments on the Draft Evaluation Framework were due by 30 March 2010.

KTS Support Line

Just a reminder to non-government organisations (NGOs) that the KTS Support Line is there to assist non-government mandatory reporters with their queries around the changes to the child protection system and their roles. The KTS Support Line is staffed by trained child protection caseworkers. It operates from 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. The phone number is 1800 772 479.

Keep them Safe 1 Farrer Place Sydney New South Wales 2000
Phone (02) 9228 4062 Fax (02) 9228 3522 Email
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