Reposted from a story by: Grant McArthur From: Herald Sun May 02, 2013
Child protection workers will be ordered to intervene earlier in situations where children are at risk of abuse or neglect. Source: Supplied
TEACHERS, child care workers and maternal health nurses are being urged to raise child abuse concerns sooner under a sweeping overhaul of Victoria’s child protection system.
Child protection workers will be ordered to intervene earlier in situations where children are at risk of abuse or neglect under a new 10-year strategy being unveiled today by the Napthine Government.
Central to the plan is a closer working relationship between “secondary services” such as schools, health and maternal services, police and child protection workers.
The Victoria’s Vulnerable Children – Our Shared Responsibility reveals that almost one in 12 Victorian children are known to be vulnerable due to abuse and neglect at the hands of their parents or carers.
Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge said the strategy contains a performance and accountability framework to better monitor and improve the protection of vulnerable children.
“To achieve this, the strategy has three main goals – preventing abuse and neglect, acting earlier when children are vulnerable, and improving outcomes for children in state care,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“The strategy defines clearly the nature and scope of child vulnerability, with 54,000 families – 8 per cent of all Victorian families – known to be vulnerable through their contact with crisis or specialist services.”
In its 2013-22 strategy the government states late interventions have had a disastrous impact on too many lives.
“Too often we miss opportunities to act earlier in ways that would have made a significant difference to a child or family,” the document states.
“These missed opportunities often mean that vulnerability is compounded and negative lifelong impacts for children and families result.”
As well as outlining closer ties between agencies to boost early detection, the strategy relies on several programs rolled out over the past two years to overhaul the system, most notably the establishment of a Commission for Children and Young People.
It will build on projects such as the Cradle to Kinder program launched in late 2008.
A WOMAN, 18-weeks pregnant and using ice, cannabis, alcohol and cigarettes as well as dealing with mental health issues, is found living in a leaking granny flat with her partner, who uses drugs and suffers schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder.
The father is charged with drug trafficking and drug possession, while his family have a long history with Child Protection.
The baby is born seven weeks premature, spending more than three weeks in special care. Anglicare’s Cradle to Kinder and other services supported the family to minimise risks to the baby and prepare them for hospital discharge.
The family were helped to make changes to their lives, including a rental home, attending antenatal appointments, quitting ice and amphetamines and cutting cannabis use, taking medication for mental health issues and having drug and alcohol counselling.
Child protection workers say both parents have since demonstrated “positive and appropriate basic care of the baby”.