Human Services Dashboard 24 September

Sarah Courtney,Minister for Children and Youth

Protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of Tasmania’s vulnerable children and young people is an absolute priority for the Tasmanian Government.

We are committed to doing all we can to further improve their safety and wellbeing, and to support the staff who work to protect our most vulnerable Tasmanians.

Encouraging impacts continue to be seen from our $51 million Strong Families, Safe Kids reforms, which focuses on supporting families to stay together where it is safe to do so.

The numbers of children referred for investigation continue to remain approximately half of what they were in the year prior to the introduction of the Strong Families Safe Kids Advice and Referral Line (ARL), in December 2018.

This shows that the ARL is successfully diverting those children and families who need a family support response, away from involvement with statutory child safety.

Although there has been a slight increase in numbers of children in out of home care, this data has trended downwards over the last 12 months.

The numbers of Children in Active Transition remains much lower than it was at the commencement of the ARL in Dec 2018, however, it has increased since the last release.

Numbers in July and August were lower than June, and importantly all children in transition are actively triaged, with oversight provided by senior staff who will escalate the urgency of allocation as required.

In all cases, if a child is assessed to be at immediate risk, they are allocated and seen within 24 hours.

Less urgent cases also receive a response while awaiting direct allocation, with activities including referrals, information and support to families, visits to children and families, case conferencing, information provision to other relevant services which are assisting the child and family, and engaging with the Family Law Court when custody matters are being considered within that jurisdiction.

I would like to acknowledge and thank the hard working staff across our child safety service, who do a tremendous job under sometimes difficult circumstances.

We have recently increased staffing in child safety by 13 FTE with recent appointments including 3 permanent Child Safety Officers and 10 mobile relief staff to cover leave and absences.

The Tasmanian Government remains committed to continuing to implement our Strong Families Safe Kids Child Safety reforms through our Next Steps Action Plan 2021-2023.

Key initiatives under our Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy will also progress the intent of our redesign.

An investment of $6.5 million in a Bringing Baby Home program will see parents with infants at imminent risk of involvement with statutory child safety receive the intensive support they need to continue caring for their children safely.

This Dashboard sees a change in the frequency of releases, with data provided to August 2021, and future releases to occur each month.

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