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Issue Ten


Evaluation of Keep Them Safe

You may recall that the Keep Them Safe (KTS) Action Plan included a commitment to evaluate the plan throughout its five years. We’re meeting this commitment in three ways:

  1. Evaluations of many specific KTS projects as they’re rolled out.
  2. An interim review of the whole of KTS focusing on structural reform and systemic change.
  3. A four-year evaluation focusing primarily on the effects of the new child protection system on outcomes for children, young people, and their families.

The Interim Review is due to be completed by December 2012. It is intended to provide a snapshot of where KTS is up to right now, and to enable sound policy and funding decisions to be made about the future direction of KTS. To do this, we have decided on a review comprising six interlinked components:

  1. A review of KTS actions against the current reporting mechanisms.
  2. Spatial mapping and analysis to provide a geographic representation of KTS investment and activity across NSW.
  3. A workforce survey to understand the impact of KTS on the workforce of mandatory reporters.
  4. Focused evaluations at specific locations in NSW.
  5. A synthesis of information from evaluations of individual KTS initiatives.
  6. Reporting the first tranche of data against KTS performance indicators.

This evaluation strategy was endorsed in June 2011 the NSW Government’s Justice and Human Services Chief Executives Officers Forum. It is being overseen by a Steering Committee composed of representatives from government agencies, the non-government sector, and independent subject experts.

The Interim Review Plan can be downloaded here, and the final Interim Review report will also be published on this site when it is completed. If you would like more information on progress in evaluating Keep Them Safe, please feel free to contact Dr Tom McClean, Manager of Evaluation and Review in the Keep Them Safe Implementation Unit.


We need your help with one aspect of the Interim Review in particular: the workforce survey. Our goal is to survey all the mandatory reporters in the State, to learn about engagement with the new mandatory reporter guidelines, the impact of reforms to mandatory reporting and information sharing on coordination between service providers, and the impact this is having on the ability of these service providers to improve the lives of vulnerable children, young people, and their families.

We need your help because nobody knows exactly how many mandatory reporters there are in the State, much less exactly how many work in which regions or professions: estimates vary between 185,000 and 250,000.

To achieve as broad a coverage as possible, we will be conducting the survey online, and publicizing it through as many channels as possible. The survey will be open for three weeks in early May 2012, and will be widely promoted over the next few weeks.

If you are a mandatory reporter we strongly encourage you to respond. If you aren’t a mandatory reporter, you can still help by informing any mandatory reporters you might know.

Interagency Conference resounding success

The 2011 NSW Child Protection and Wellbeing Interagency conference, co-hosted by NSW Health and the Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (AWCA), was held on 29 – 30 November 2011 at Crystal Palace, Luna Park Milsons Point.

The conference was a huge success, with maximum capacity reached. The conference attracted 500 delegates from across NSW and interstate, from government and non-government agencies.

The conference took place two years into the reforms that were established to achieve better outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and their families under Keep Them Safe, the response to the Wood Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection in NSW.

The conference aimed to address four themes:

  • What was our challenge?
  • Have we changed practice and systems?
  • Have we strengthened partnerships?
  • What challenges remain?

These themes provided opportunity to showcase various KTS initiatives operating across NSW including Family Referral Services and Child Wellbeing Units; to review how implementation of the reforms was progressing; and importantly, to assess the challenges that still remain.
There was a high response rate to the conference evaluation survey, with approximately one-third of delegates provided feedback.

Keynote speakers Prof. Marianne Berry and Assoc Prof. Leah Bromfield, both from the Australian Centre for Child Protection, challenged delegates with evidence about child protection and wellbeing from Australia and overseas, and assessed a range of policy responses.

A key message that delegates took from Prof. Berry was the tension and imbalance in the system between keeping children safe (child protection focus) and ensuring their wellbeing. Prof. Berry’s presentation was the overwhelming highlight of the conference for most delegates, with over 95% of conference survey respondents saying they learned something they could use in the future.

Another keynote speaker, Mr Bill Pritchard, CEO of AbSec, observed that KTS was headed in the right direction; however, there was more work to do to support and build capacity of Aboriginal organisations, especially in the provision of out-of-home-care.

The conference survey results revealed that attendees found the conference highly informative and beneficial. If another conference was provided, 73% of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they would attend.

A list of conference PowerPoint presentations from both days are available on the Keep Them Safe website. (Please note: not all session slides are available.)