KTS Training for the Early Childhood Sector. Training Outline. Welcome & Introductions Background to Keep Them Safe (KTS) KTS and the Early Childhood (EC) Sector New Reporting Threshold & Grounds for Reporting Overview of Mandatory Reporter Guide (MRG) Use of MRG with EC Case Studies
Training Outline • Welcome & Introductions • Background to Keep Them Safe (KTS) • KTS and the Early Childhood (EC) Sector • New Reporting Threshold & Grounds for Reporting • Overview of Mandatory Reporter Guide (MRG) • Use of MRG with EC Case Studies • Information Exchange & Interagency Collaboration • Summary, Questions & Close
Background to Keep Them Safe • Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection (Wood) • 111 recommendations to NSW Government • Keep Them Safe is the Government’s response and 5-year plan to implement 106 of the recommendations • Statewide Information Session rollout completed • Proclamation 24 January 2010 • Phase 2 – includes contextualised training for sectors and Mandatory Reporter Guide Training
Goals of Keep Them Safe • All children in NSW are healthy, happy and safe and grow up belonging in families and communities where they have opportunities to reach their full potential • All agencies such as Health, Education, Police and Human Services (Housing, Juvenile Justice, Disability Services) should expand their role in supporting children • Fewer children and young people reported to Community Services • More families supported on a local level in a coordinated approach by other government agencies and NGOs
KTS and the Early Childhood Sector • Early Childhood staff have a vital role in the child protection system • Under KTS, All Early Childhood staff must report cases of suspected Risk of Significant Harm to children to the Community Services Child Protection Helpline. • Mandatory Reporter Guide (MRG) should be used before deciding to ring the Child Protection Helpline • If the report on a child does not meet the new threshold, there are still many ways that Early Childhood staff can make a difference and access resources for children and families • Regardless of whether a report has been made, EC staff should continue to monitor and offer appropriate services to families
KTS Links to National Standards • National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care – implemented from 1 July 2010 and will apply from 1 January 2012. • Captures aspects critical to the provision of quality early childhood education • The framework uses a National Quality Standard – the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) which will guide EC staff to develop quality early childhood programs. • Guiding Principle – The rights of the child are paramount • Obligation of all those who work with children to protect children from harm, respect their dignity and privacy and safeguard and promote every child’s wellbeing
KTS links to National Standards • Children’s Health and Safety Standard – Each child is protected(2.3) and action is taken to respond to every child at risk of abuse and/or neglect • Requirement that EC staff understand and meet their obligations under the relevant state legislation • Standard 6.3 – The service collaborates with other organisations and service providers to enhance children’s learning and wellbeing – and that links with relevant community and support agencies are established and maintained.
Early Childhood reporting to CS In 2008/2009 - 309,676 child protection reports made to CS Child Protection Helpline took 221,256 contacts (average 600 per day) Apr-Jun 2009 – 71,879 reports made to CS Children 0-4 years made up 34% of these reports (24,004) – 1/3 of all reports Source: DoCS Annual Report 2008.2009
Reports made by Reporter type • From Apr-Jun 2009, schools and child • care staff made 14% (10,278) of reports • made to Community Services. • Child care staff made up 887 (1.2%) of • these reports • During this time, 87,470 children aged 0-5 • attended funded, licensed children’s • services in NSW. Source: DoCS Annual Report 2008.2009
What is being reported by schools and EC? • Physical Abuse 30% • Neglect 15% • Emotional Abuse 12.5% • Sexual Abuse 10% • Domestic Violence 6.3% • Drug/Alcohol use by Carer 5.8% • Carer Mental Health 5.6% • Child Inappropriate Sexual Beh. 5% • Suicide Risk (child) 3.8% • Drug/Alcohol Use by child 2.4% • Carer Other Issues 1.4% • Runaway Child 1.3% • No Risk of Harm 1.2% • Other <1% 67.5% of all reports 32.5% of all reports Source: DoCS Annual Report 2008.2009
New Reporting Threshold & Grounds for Reporting New reporting threshold to Community Services – RISK OF SIGNIFICANT HARM (ROSH) 2 new grounds for reporting to Community Services – Section 23 of Act
What is Risk of Significant Harm? • Sufficiently serious to warrant a response by a statutory authority irrespective of a family’s consent • Not minor or trivial • May be reasonably expected to produce a substantial and demonstrably adverse impact on the child or young person’s safety, welfare or wellbeing • Can result from a single act or omission or an accumulation of these • In the case of an unborn child, what is significant is not minor or trivial and may reasonably be expected to produce a substantial and demonstrably adverse impact on the child after the child’s birth
Why the need to increase the threshold? • NSW – lowest thresholds for reporting children at risk • Contributed to an overwhelmed statutory system (Wood) • Reduce demand on the system • Ensure children at ROSH receive a timely and appropriate response from CS • Help non-ROSH cases receive support and services
New Grounds for Reporting • Section 23 of the Act outlines the grounds for reporting to Community Services. • Includes • Physical Abuse, • Sexual Abuse, • Psychological Harm, • Neglect, • Exposure to Domestic Violence, • Parental Substance Abuse and • Parental Mental Health Concerns. • In addition, now the act contains an additional 2 grounds for reporting
New Grounds for Reporting • Parent or Carer has not arranged (and are unable or unwilling to arrange) for their child to receive an education • AND • A series of acts or omissions when viewed together may establish a pattern of significant harm
Overview of Mandatory Reporter Guide (MRG) • Developed to assist mandatory reporters to determine whether their concerns about a child or young person constitutes Risk of Significant Harm under the new legislative threshold. • It is an online, interactive guide and is also available in hard copy format. • Not a replacement for professional judgment but supports decision making
Where do I get the MRG? • The MRG is available on line either on the Keep Them Safe website, www.keepthemsafe.nsw.gov.au or on the Community Services website, www.community.nsw.gov.au. These links and others are contained in your participant guide. • You do not need a username or log in to access the site. • If going through the Keep Them Safe website, you will see the front page like this....
MRG Decision Trees • Listed on the left hand side of the online MRG tool and include: • Physical Abuse • Neglect(includes Neglect types such as Supervision, Shelter/ • Environment, Food; Medical Care; Mental Health Care; Education • Sexual Abuse (includes Sexual abuse of child, sexual abuse of young • person, and Child/Young Person problematic sexual behaviour) • Psychological Harm • Relinquishing Care • Other Concerns(includes Carer Substance Abuse, Carer Mental • Health, Carer Domestic Violence) • Unborn Child
Physical Abuse Decision Tree • USE THIS WHEN: • You know of an injury to a child/young person that you suspect is caused by abuse • You know of treatment of a child/young person that may have caused or is likely to cause an injury • Child/Young Person was injured, or nearly injured, during a domestic violence incident
Neglect Decision Tree • USE THIS WHEN: • You suspect that a parent or carer is not adequately meeting child/young person needs • A child/young person appears to be neglected • Then select the appropriate neglect sub-type (e.g. supervision, shelter/environment, food etc)
Sexual Abuse Decision Tree • USE THIS WHEN: • You learn about sexual contact or sexual abuse of a child/young person • A child/young person has medical findings suspicious for sexual abuse • A child/young person’s behaviour, including sexually abusive behaviour, is concerning
Psychological Harm Decision Tree • USE THIS WHEN: • A child/young person appears to be experiencing psychological/emotional distress that is a result of parent/carer behaviour such as domestic violence • You are aware of parent/carer behaviour, including domestic violence, that are likely to result in significant psychological harm to the child/young person
Relinquishing Care • USE THIS WHEN: • Parent/carer states he/she will not continue or cannot continue to provide care for a child under the age of 16 • OR a young person over the age of 16 when the young person is currently unable to make an informed decision (either temporarily or permanently). • If the young person is able to make informed decisions, refer to the Physical Shelter tree. • OR when child/young person is in voluntary care for longer than legislation allows
Carer Concern • USE THIS WHEN: • You have information that the child/young person is significantly affected by carer concerns (e.g. mental health, substance abuse or domestic violence) • NOTE – If child/young person has already experienced abuse or neglect, use the relevant abuse/neglect tree first. • If a report to Community Services is not indicated using those decision trees, you may consider a Carer Concern decision tree.
Unborn Child Decision Tree • USE THIS WHEN: • You are concerned for the welfare of an unborn child upon his/her birth • NOTE – reports relating to an unborn child are not mandatory. • HOWEVER - Those with mandatory reporting responsibility should consider the benefits for the mother and unborn child of making a report to enable support services to be put into place or to prepare for statutory intervention if required.
Tips to using the definitions • Consider what you already know • Read the Definition • Remember to consider the “AND” and “OR” parts of the definition. • “AND” definitions require you to agree with more than one part of the definition, “OR” definitions require you to agree with one or the other parts of the definition. • Read right to the end of the definition (to the full stop) before deciding if it’s a “YES” or “NO” • Focus only on one question at a time
Step 3 – Continue to answer questions until you reach a final decision
Final Decision Types • IF your concern meets the ROSH thresholdthe Final Decision will either be: • Immediate Report to Community Services • OR • Report to Community Services • Depending on the urgency of the concerns.
Final Decision Types • IF your concern does not meet the ROSH thresholdthe Final Decision will be: • Consult with a Professional. • What can you do if this is the Final Decision? • Contact your supervisor for advice, • Contact the KTS Support Line for Non-Government organisations • If you cannot contact your supervisor or it is outside of the Keep Them Safe • Support Line hours of operation, you can contact the Child Protection Helpline • on 133DOCS (133627).
Using the MRG with Case Studies • In developing this training material, TAFE have applied the MRG to each of these case studies we will now examine. • As we work through these case studies you will have an opportunity to see how the MRG is applied and discuss each case in light of the Keep Them Safe changes (i.e. ROSH) and your professional judgment.
Case Study - Caleb • Caleb is a 5 year old boy who attends your pre-school 4 days per week (Mon-Thu) • Today (Monday) you notice a bruise on the child’s forehead, approximately the size of a 50 cent piece. Caleb did not have this bruise when he was at the centre last week. • You mention the bruise to Caleb and he says, “Daddy was very angry today because I wasn’t getting ready for kindy”. You got a cold cloth to place on Caleb’s forehead and whilst doing this, he said, “Daddy pushed me on the wall, I hit my head”. “I cried and told Mummy and she said, ‘That’s what happens when you don’t get ready for kindy’”. • Whilst telling you this, Caleb was upset and crying. • You decide to consult with your Room Coordinator who suggests you all meet with the director to discuss the situation.
Let’s discuss this case study • What action should you or your staff member take? • Staff should consult their workplace manager with their concerns – i.e. Director or manager • Document the key points • Apply the MRG to the facts of the case • Follow the final action as recommended by the MRG – we will discuss this further in the training session • Print a copy of the MRG final report and place on secure file • We will now work through the MRG using Caleb as our example…
Case Study 6 - Alice • Alice is a 4 ½ year old girl who attends your centre 5 days a week. She has two older siblings, Rosalie who is 10, and Emmett who is 14 years old. • You are aware that Alice is left with her older siblings every morning as the parents leave for work at 6:00am. • Emmett drops Alice off to pre-school every day on his way to school. You are concerned that he is only 14 and has too much responsibility in the morning, getting both Rosalie and Alice ready for school and pre-school and dropping them off to their respective schools. • You have spoken with your Director in the past about this, and the director has contacted the parents with her concerns on a number of occasions. • On the last occasion (4 weeks ago) the mother advised that the situation will be coming to an end soon as she will be working night shifts and will be available to care for the children in the morning and drop them at school and pre-school. • This is still going on 4 weeks later, and you are getting more concerned about Emmett’s ability to continue to care for his siblings every day. You speak with your director again. • Is this Risk of Significant Harm?
Information Exchange & Interagency Collaboration • New laws applying to the sharing/exchange of information about children and young people commenced on 30 October 2009 • Chapter 16Aof the Act clearly prioritises the safety, welfare and wellbeing of a child or young person over an individual’s right to privacy • Wood – agencies should take on a greater role and responsibility in supporting children and families and that Non Government agencies are equal partners with Government in the deliver of services to children, young people, families and communities • Exchange of information between agencies is crucial to ensuring responsibility for child protection is shared amongst both Govt. and Non-Govt. agencies
What is the new legislation around Information Exchange? • Chapter 16A of the Children and Young Persons (Care & Protection) Act 1998 • Allows government and non government organisations who are “prescribed bodies” to exchange information that relates to a child or young person’s safety, welfare or wellbeing whether or not the child or young person is known to CS and whether or not the child or young person consents to the information exchange. • Chapter 16A requires Prescribed Bodies to take reasonable steps to co-ordinate decision making and the delivery of services regarding children and young people.
Who are “Prescribed Bodies”? • Early Childhood staff are considered a “Prescribed Body” under this legislation. • Other prescribed bodies are: • NSW Police, • NSW Government Departments, • Schools, • Health, • Any other organisation that has direct supervision of the provision of health care, welfare, education, children’s services, residential services or law enforcement to children.
When can agencies or NGOs request information from others? • Information must relate to the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child or young person. • The information may assist the agency to: • Make decisions or undertake an assessment or plan; • Initiate or conduct and investigation; • Provide a service; • Manage any risk to the child or young person.
What kind of information can be exchanged? Information on: • A child or young person’s circumstances or history; • A parent or family member; • People having a significant or relevant relationship with a child or young person; or • The other agencies’ dealings with the child or young person, including past support or service arrangements
What does all this mean for you as Early Childhood staff? • You can exchange information about children with other Prescribed Bodies; • Without Community Services involvement; • Without the consent of child/young person or family; • Remember best practice considerations.
Group Discussion • Under what circumstances could you see yourself in your workplace needing to exchange information or request information about a child or young person? • Keep in mind best practice considerations
Importance of Interagency Collaboration • New legislation helps flow of information • Identify cumulative harm • Work together
Group Activity • Collaborating with, and sharing information about the safety, • welfare and wellbeing of children with other agencies.......... • What are the benefits? • 2. What are the challenges? • 3. What are some strategies that you may put into place in your centre to overcome some of these challenges? • 10 minutes then back to the large group for discussion
Information Exchange Checklist for EC staff - Requesting Information • Consider the information you have and what additional information you may need • Consult with your supervisor • Ensure that the request for information complies with best practice • Document the process and consultation with your supervisor and your rationale • Seek the information • Consider all of the information and re-visit the MRG if needed • Document your progress • Take action as required
Information Exchange Checklist for EC staff - Responding to a Request for Information • Consider the information requested and what additional information you may have • Consult with your supervisor • Ensure that the request for information complies with best practice • Document the process and consultation with your supervisor and your rationale • Provide the information if appropriate • Document your progress • Take action as required