Strong Families Safe Kids reforms delivering positive outcomes, Tasmanians with Disability Supported

Roger Jaensch,Acting Minister for Education

The Tasmanian Government’s Strong Families Safe Kids reforms continue to deliver positive outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and their families.

As a result of our reforms, more children are being cared for safely by their families and fewer children ending up in out of home care.

Importantly, our approach is fundamentally different to other jurisdictions and this should be acknowledged when comparing Tasmania’s data from the Report on Government Services 2022 (ROGS).

Compared to traditional child protection intake services, Tasmania’s Advice and Referral Line engages earlier to determine the most beneficial course of action for a specific child or family.

Wherever it is safe to do so, our priority is to work collaboratively with families at risk and provide wrap-around support services rather than automatically progress the notification through the statutory system.

Importantly, any child assessed to be in immediate danger is seen within 24 hours.

This new way of working has resulted in a more targeted approach by the Child Safety service and a substantiation rate that is well above the rest of the nation, meaning our services are being highly effective at engaging with families in line with their needs.

The ROGS data shows that the extra time taken by the Advice and Referral Line provides more families with the support and opportunity to stay together and care safely for their children.

In relation to youth justice, the Tasmanian Government recognises the importance of providing best practice and therapeutic responses for young people in conflict with the law, which is why we embarked on a major reform of our Youth Justice System.

Our reforms will see the closure of the Ashley Youth Detention Centre and two new therapeutic custodial youth justice facilities built – one in the North and one in the South.

We will also see improved services for young people at risk and more support to divert young people away from the Youth Justice System.

Our Youth Justice Reform Blueprint is currently open for public consultation here: https://www.communities.tas.gov.au/children/youth_justice/youth-justice-reform

Regarding Disability Services in Tasmania, the ROGS data shows that many Tasmanians with disability continue to be supported by the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Tasmania’s rates of satisfaction with the NDIS are above the national average on many measures, including with respect to genuine choice and control of services, however we acknowledge that there is still more to be done to ensure that choice and control is maximised.

We remain committed to supporting all Tasmanians with disability, including by investing new funding into a range of supports including advocacy services and improved diagnostic services.

BACKGROUND:

The ROGS Youth Justice Data should be approached with caution given the low numbers of young people involved, particularly in detention-based supervision.

Recording practices can also vary from jurisdiction for measures such as self-harm and assaults.

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