(QldGovSpin) New Decision Making Tool to decrease risks for Children

Submitted by Editor on Wed, 14/07/2004 - 22:51

Child safety decisions in Queensland will be more consistent and reliable following an important decision by the Department of Child Safety to buy an internationally recognised decision making methodology system.

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Child Safety, Mike Reynolds
childsafety@cabinet.qld.gov.au
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14/07/04

The Minister for Child Safety, Mike Reynolds, announced today that he had approved the purchase of child protection decision support tools in accordance with the recommendations outlined in the CMC Report and the Reform Blueprint.

He said the Structured Decision Making System available through the Children's Research Centre in the United States offers a suite of tools that will help regulate, standardise and record the front-line decisions taken by Child Safety Officers.

"The methodology will be used by more than 900 front line child protection staff throughout Queensland to help determine the course of action in child safety issues," Mr Reynolds said.

"This is another step on the road to making Queensland's child safety responses open, accountable and consistent throughout the State," Mr Reynolds said.

"It is in keeping with the recommendations in the Crime and Misconduct Commission Report released earlier this year and will be a valuable tool in the fight to safeguard at risk children and young people."

Minister Reynolds said the initial cost of the methodology, which includes the purchase of risk assessment tools and face-to-face staff training, is estimated at around $300,000.

The decision to obtain the US methodology followed a comprehensive evaluation project undertaken by Griffith University, which was asked to look nationally and internationally to identify the best tool to meet Queensland's unique needs.

Minister Reynolds said the Structured Decision Making (SDM) methodology has been used in South Australia since 1997 and was selected because of reliability and validity in child safety risk assessment.

"The methodology was recommended as having the strongest evidence base in relation to reliability and validity and is considered to have the best outcome for keeping children safe. The methodology has improved consistency in decision making, with a significant improvement on the previous intake methodology."

Mr Reynolds said Queensland currently uses an assessment methodology based on professional judgement but the CMC found that this had resulted in wide variability in decision making.

"The SDM methodology is judged to be simpler to use, enables risk to be easily reassessed and provides a point to usefully determine where resources are most needed.

"It will be used in conjunction with professional judgement to enhance the decision making process and to provide a level of objectivity and transparency.

"This is an important decision and the methodology will help address any concerns about consistency in determining the level and intensity of any child protection response required," Mr Reynolds said.

He said the core benefits of the methodology included effective assessment of child protection notifications through a risk assessment tool and both a family and child strength/needs assessment tool.

"These benefits will also provide the Department with information in relation to workload and resource allocation."

Mr Reynolds said the new methodology would be supported by a strong implementation plan, including the development of resource materials and face-to-face training to support staff at the front line.

"These staff members have an important and challenging role and it is imperative that we equip them not only with the best tools, but also that we provide the necessary training and support.

"The Department's Information Services Branch will be working collaboratively with the implementation project team to develop interim electronic information collection and reporting processes which support the methodology.

"The longer term integration of this methodology into the Department's information systems will be addressed through the implementation of the Integrated Client Management System."

The Children's Research Centre (CRC) is a not-for-profit organisation based in Wisconsin in the United States. It was established to help federal, state and local child welfare agencies reduce child abuse and neglect by developing case management approaches to improve service delivery to children and families.

During the last two decades, the agency has conducted research, evaluated programs and developed case management approaches for more than 50 agencies internationally. The SDM methodology has been validated on over 210,000 families in the US, Canada and Australia.

Media Contacts:
Karla Steen 3235 9236 or
John Ross 3224 7081

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Submitted by Anonymous on Tue, 13/06/2006 - 15:40.

waste of tax payers money as usual

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