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Care and protection in the ACT a mess

By 7 March 2013 12

The Auditor-General has announced the first report of 2013 Care and Protection System.

The report is vast, and the conclusions lengthy.

But it appears we don’t know where the children are, or how they are.

It is, apparently, hoped that things are getting better, but we can’t know that either.


UPDATE: Joy Burch is taking a glass half full approach.

The ACT Government today welcomed a performance audit by the Auditor General of the ACT’s Care and Protection System, which makes recommendations around a number of areas for improvement but also supports a number of recent reforms and policies.

Minister for Disability, Children and Young People Joy Burch said the Auditor-General’s recommendations were consistent with a number of reforms already underway to ensure the Care and Protection system’s records are more consistent and up to date.

“The ACT Government has embarked on changes to the Care and Protection System following the Public Advocate’s report last year, and the findings of the Auditor-General’s report show these reforms are focusing on the right areas,” Ms Burch said.

“The report also raises a number of new issues which the Government will work through. The Government has agreed or agreed in principle to all the recommendations in the report, which will inform the reform package currently underway.”

Changes the Government will begin implementing immediately include introducing a requirement that all children in care be visited at least annually by Care and Protection staff, and additional record-keeping training for Care and Protection staff and staff of non-government out-of home care agencies.


Further Update: Jeremy Hanson, however, is more of a glass half empty type:

“It is worring that the Auditor-General was unable to even say if the Community Services Directorate was ‘providing adequate and immediate support to young people deemed at high risk and vulnerable’ as a result of a range of issues identified in her audit.” states Mr Hanson.

The Auditor-General also raised significant concerns with the Directorates electronic system (CHYPS) which appears to be failing across a range of important areas.

Amongst the negative findings, the Auditor General concluded that:

– The Director General cannot rely on the Directorate’s own system to provide accurate information to be able to answer the question for all those in care, particularly the whereabouts of where they were, including during school hours.

– Some children and young people, after being placed on long term orders, may never be visited. Furthermore; there is no policy to guide visitations for monitoring the welfare of children.

– The Directorate’s management of information and records on care and protection is poor.

– Governance arrangements that affect the Care and Protection Service are poor.

– ACT Government directorates and entities need to improve their coordination and sharing of information so that greater support is given to children and young people who may need care and protection services.

– Monitoring the provision of out-of-home care by community service providers is poor.

– A misalignment in reporting numbers of section 507 and annual review reports presents the risk that some children and young people may not be monitored and offered advocacy support.

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12 Responses to Care and protection in the ACT a mess
#1
johnboy2:20 pm, 07 Mar 13

Now with reaction from Burch and Hanson.

#2
PantsMan2:27 pm, 07 Mar 13

ACT Government.

#3
ToastFliesRED3:28 pm, 07 Mar 13

PantsMan said :

ACT Government.

Oh such an inciteful reply, I guess your take on things (this and your uneducated comments on http://the-riotact.com/it-problems-causing-delays-for-canberra-hospital/96189) remind me very much of the senseless and baseless Canberra bashing of Mr McKenzie-Murray http://the-riotact.com/martin-mckenzie-murray-piddling-on-the-centenary-bbq/96973

Or is it only those of us who work for the ACT Government that you consider worthy of your derision?

I am not saying by any means that any Government Agency is perfect (though you may want it to be so) but your Government Agencies are staffed by humans who do regrettably sometimes make mistakes. The mistake always makes the headlines (as perhaps it should) but the other side of things where the majority of patients/clients are dealt with without incident is also worth noting.

But I do not wish to totally denounce your way of doing things so perhaps in future I will respond to posts (trolls) such as yours with an equally blase comment like “Over-assuming, generalised, unsubstantiated comment like PantsMan would make – not worthy of further consideration”

#4
PantsMan4:00 pm, 07 Mar 13

ToastFliesRED said :

PantsMan said :

ACT Government.

Oh such an inciteful reply, I guess your take on things (this and your uneducated comments on http://the-riotact.com/it-problems-causing-delays-for-canberra-hospital/96189) remind me very much of the senseless and baseless Canberra bashing of Mr McKenzie-Murray http://the-riotact.com/martin-mckenzie-murray-piddling-on-the-centenary-bbq/96973

Or is it only those of us who work for the ACT Government that you consider worthy of your derision?

I am not saying by any means that any Government Agency is perfect (though you may want it to be so) but your Government Agencies are staffed by humans who do regrettably sometimes make mistakes. The mistake always makes the headlines (as perhaps it should) but the other side of things where the majority of patients/clients are dealt with without incident is also worth noting.

But I do not wish to totally denounce your way of doing things so perhaps in future I will respond to posts (trolls) such as yours with an equally blase comment like “Over-assuming, generalised, unsubstantiated comment like PantsMan would make – not worthy of further consideration”

Surely that’s our Flame of the Week?

PS: I meant to say:

PantsMan said :

ACT Government.

*facepalm*

but I put the wrong brackets around it so it disappeared into cyberspace.

#5
ToastFliesRED4:57 pm, 07 Mar 13

PantsMan said :

Surely that’s our Flame of the Week?

PS: I meant to say:

ToastFliesRED said :

ACT Government.

*facepalm*

but I put the wrong brackets around it so it disappeared into cyberspace.

And that makes the intent of your comment any different how? My comment stands

#6
bundah6:10 pm, 07 Mar 13

PantsMan said :

ACT Government.

Now had you said ACT gubmint fcuks up yet again,children fall through cracks into the abyss never to seen again then toasty might not have been so unkind :)

#7
Girt_Hindrance7:42 pm, 07 Mar 13

“Surely that’s our Flame of the Week?”

Nah, can’t even be close- not even an errant capslock there.
May I nominate Masquara for the Spiegeltent article?

Seriously tho, C&P has always been a debacle, they’ve recruited from overseas for years as no one in their right mind wants to work with our ‘lost youth’ for more than 2 years due to burnout and many other factors. You can only help people who want help, and the way some youths are brought up in and around ACT, they have little idea that things can and should be better for them. When the norm is that Mum takes drugs and drinks herself silly everyday, and Dad keeps getting locked up for the weekend or longer, these kids learn to fend for themselves, and not usually the right or socially accepted way.

It’s an incredibly difficult job and mostly cyclical, you get the kids attention, get them starting to do the right thing, and then the weekend when their ‘friends’ are stealing cars or bashing strangers for money rolls around again and it’s back to Quamby (or whatever that’s called these days), and it’s return to square one again.

It’s a shit job and anyone that rags on them clearly hasn’t been there, or won’t step up to the role themselves. It’s a much bigger problem than ‘the Gubbermint’ alone, and I don’t envy those still dealing with it.

#8
gazket2:53 pm, 08 Mar 13

Joy Burch has been a dud for a few years now yet somehow she just got re-elected . How ?

#9
johnboy2:56 pm, 08 Mar 13

She has got pretty good staff in her office. (well, no-one else’s staff bought me a beer on my birthday)

#10
gazket3:24 pm, 08 Mar 13

johnboy said :

She has got pretty good staff in her office. (well, no-one else’s staff bought me a beer on my birthday)

maybe her staff gave you one left over beer and drank the rest of the carton and that’s why they forgot about international women’s day.

#11
JimCharles7:35 pm, 08 Mar 13

Girt_Hindrance said :

Seriously tho, C&P has always been a debacle, they’ve recruited from overseas for years as no one in their right mind wants to work with our ‘lost youth’ for more than 2 years due to burnout and many other factors.

But what are the “other factors”…especially concerning the repeated high dropout rate of European, British and Irish overseas people meaning ACT needs to go back every few years and collect another batch? If people coming here from the other side of the world don’t want to work there, what chance has any Aussie got when it’s a lot easier for them to walk out on a job? And how much money is being spent on this “sticking plaster” approach which could be better spent sorting themselves out internally?

Kids in Canberra are no worse than anywhere else…the social and family problems are the same in the USA, Canada and the UK, though the way they deal with them over there is probably more advanced in some areas because they’ve had heavier financial and social pressures for a lot longer, which has forced them to look more closely at what they’re doing rather than just chucking money at it and still not having a clue.
They’ve got many more years of analysing outcomes and seeing which well-intentioned policies just do not work in practice, when you look at how children who’ve been through a care and protection system have developed as adults. Does Canberra do any of this, they don’t even seem to know what’s going on so how are they measuring their own performance? Are they working blind and guessing?
Canberra’s a far less brutal and much better funded environment to work in. So why is the service a basket case and why are these supposedly battle-hardened overseas staff disappearing as soon as their 2 year VISA validation period is up? They know the job and Canberra’s problems are nothing overly difficult?
It’s not the work that’s the problem, it’s the workplace.
Poor systems, poor communication, poor record-keeping, dysfunctional work arrangements, poor internal recruitment, poor staff retention, poor treatment of staff, poor career prospects, no direction. How many years has this been going on and STILL they’re bad enough to be described as “poor” in an official report (which is polite speak for “atrocious”)

“Changes the Government will begin implementing immediately include introducing a requirement that all children in care be visited at least annually by Care and Protection staff”.

That’s possibly the worst thing I’ve ever read in a report.
These are kids ACT have taken into care and made themselves responsible for, but they currently might not see them in a whole YEAR ?
How do they know what sort of care those kids are getting? How do they know that the child isn’t worse off under ACT’s “care and protection” and being abused? This does happen and adults have sued authorities for millions for removing them from their families and then putting them in a position where they were worse off. If you’ve got an authority that doesn’t have a policy of even checking on these kids, well how do they expect to defend any allegations ? It’s scandalous and the total opposite of care and protection.
You’d think after the millions of dollars that has been chucked at this service over the last 6 or 7 years, somebody would take it by the scruff of the neck and give it a bloody good shake from the top down. Instead of pussyfooting around and making incremental changes that are obviously not producing even adequate results, re-design the service totally and draw a line though everything they currently do. Don’t waste it by spending a fortune on recruiting from overseas knowing that it’s trying to plug a leak in a barrel.
What do we aim to achieve? How do we do this? Build an operating model that can deliver. Recruit, monitor, deliver, measure, retain and improve.
Somebody to ruffle the feathers of both the legislators and the higher management who are sitting pretty but not discharging their responsibilities….it needs a good clear out and somebody with strength, integrity and vision.

#12
JimCharles6:33 pm, 13 Mar 13

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-03-13/childrens-commissioner-no-longer-able-to-investigate-complaints/4570962

JimCharles said :

” The ACT Children and Young People Commissioner says he will no longer be investigating care and protection complaints due to a lack of resources.
Alasdair Roy has told an ACT Legislative Assembly Committee his complaint loads have increased tenfold since he started the job in 2009.
Mr Roy says care and protection complaints account for 50 to 60 per cent of his workload but he does not have the resources to deal with them effectively.
“I simply won’t be turning those people away,” he said.
“I’ll be encouraging them to go back to the department and be working closely with the directorate to encourage them to improve their internal complaints handling mechanisms.
“But I’m not convinced that’s going to bear much fruit.”

Attorney-General Simon Corbell says there is tight fiscal times for all public sector agencies.

What an utter bullshit response to a damning report. Just remove the ability for complaints to be investigated, so all is well. Are they really serious about protecting children in Canberra, or is it all about protecting themselves and sod what’s happening to our children? I find this a bit despicable for a socialist government.

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