Department of Human Services

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The agency's performance

Performance at a glance

Achievements and outcomes during the 2021–22 financial year include:

  • Accepting approximately 800 referrals for Intensive Family Services to support our most vulnerable families. $11.9 million commissioned non-government organisations accepting an additional 550 referrals and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations another 200.
  • Provision of Intensive Family Services to parents of 3,182 children to support families where there were significant safety concerns for their children.
  • Initiated a $1.75 million per annum (over six years) Resilient Families program to deliver a new model of service for families at imminent risk programs under a social impact bond.
  • Continuing our work to establish our CFSS Pathways Service, a centralised triage line to provide a single point of entry into Child and Family Support System services. In 2021–22 there were 3,500 referrals to enable families to access home-based support and agency coordination. This helped to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children in at-risk families, and provide a diversionary pathway to the Child Abuse Report Line for families.
  • Supporting 57 clients of the Transition to Home (T2H) program to discharge from hospital and successfully transition to live in the community in 2021–22, contributing to a reduction in the number of long-stay patients with disability that are discharge ready. DHS Disability Services expanded the T2H total bed capacity from 25 to 55.
  • Allocating approximately $171.4 million in household and public transport concessions to approximately 221,000 eligible South Australians.
  • Distributing approximately $2.16 million in support grants to 182 projects through Grants SA.
  • Distributing $18.9 million in community support through the Community Connections Program. Over 70% of participants made progress towards achieving their goals with program participants experiencing improvements in quality of life, independence, and reported levels of loneliness.
  • Recommissioning the redesigned Youth Support and Development Program for up to nine years with a value of $1.9 million per annum. New program outcomes support the establishment of pathways to participation in education, training, employment or volunteering for at risk young people.
  • Allocating approximately $1.33 million to a range of programs and initiatives to improve the wellbeing and life opportunities of South Australia’s young people, particularly those experiencing disadvantage and marginalisation.
  • Distributing approximately $19.6 million through the Family and Community Development Fund to services which advance the welfare of children, youth and vulnerable South Australians.
  • Receiving and finalising 205,560 screening applications, with 62% of applications (127,449) finalised by the Screening Unit in one calendar week or less.
  • Completing 66,932 interpreting assignments and 1,078 translating assignments through the DHS Interpreting and Translating Centre.
  • Allocating $4.871 million to frontline response services in South Australia as Payment 1 of the National Partnership on Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Responses 2021–23.
  • Recording 27,370 contacts with clients of the Women’s Information Service.
  • Providing 9,634 equipment items (new and reissued) and 357 home modifications to eligible clients through the DHS Equipment Program.
  • Lodgement of 4,336 child safe environments compliance statements with the department representing 27,384 organisations over the life of the program. 626 organisations lodged a new compliance statement, an increase of 21% over the previous financial year.
  • Implementing a revised assessment approach across Youth Justice Services, including the introduction of the Child and Adolescent Intellectual Disability Screening Questionnaire (CAIDS-Q). This seven-item tool screens for possible intellectual disability and aims to support staff to identify children and young people who may require referral for further assessment.
  • DHS Exceptional Needs Unit (ENU) expanding the Inclusion Support Program to include adult referrals, and in the Youth and Family team, increasing the focus on family assessment and coordination of supports, leading to more holistic and systemic outcomes for families. In 2021–22, ENU supported 438 individuals, a 52% increase from 2020–21.

As at 30 June 2022:

  • There were 468 clients receiving long-term supported independent living services through DHS Disability Services, excluding the Northgate Aged Care Service and T2H clients.
  • The Northgate Aged Care Service, which was established as a high-care residential facility specialising in supporting clients with intellectual disability, held 30 Commonwealth Residential Aged Care places, of which 27 were occupied.
  • There were 41 active clients in the T2H program, which supports NDIS participants that are in hospital, discharge ready and are at risk of being long-stay patients to transition back into the community.

In 2021–22, a total of 292 individual children and young people were admitted to the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre. During this period, Community Youth Justice also supported 426 young people on community mandates.

Agency response to COVID-19

The department played a key role in supporting the South Australian community during the COVID-19 pandemic through the administration of the State-Based Paid Pandemic Leave Payment. The $300 payment was available to eligible recipients who were required to self-isolate in accordance with SA Health guidelines while awaiting COVID-19 test results. During 2021–22, $1.02 million was paid to 3,413 recipients, with the state-based scheme closing on 30 June 2022.

DHS also referred workers who were close contacts (or carers of close contacts) to the Commonwealth for the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment. Under this scheme, workers required to undertake a COVID-19 test may be eligible for a payment of up to $750 per seven-day quarantine period. 3,341 applicants were referred to the Commonwealth scheme in 2021–22.

The Commonwealth payment ceased on 30 June 2022, with people only eligible to receive one of the above payments at any time.

A range of other supports were provided including food parcels to insecure households required to isolate due to COVID-19. 1,294 food parcels were provided by DHS in partnership with SA Health and Foodbank SA. The department also established a sourcing, warehouse and distribution site to ensure vulnerable cohorts had access to rapid antigen test (RAT) kits and support the surveillance testing of staff. Over 120 non-government organisations were supported by DHS, with 284,610 RAT kits supplied during the financial year.

A temporary clinic was established at Highgate Park in March 2021, which supported the SA Health vaccination roll-out for workers in disability and aged care environments. In June 2021, the scope of the Highgate Park Vaccination Clinic was expanded to support the wider community in line with SA Health Vaccination Guidelines. Over 15,000 COVID-19 vaccinations were administered by the clinic before closing on 25 March 2022.

The disability services sector was supported through training and the provision of guidance on managing workforce issues to ensure the safety of people with disability. The department also held a training session for providers of Supported Residential Facilities to support COVID-19 workforce planning and ensure the safety of residents. DHS has developed interim guidance for the management of COVID-19 outbreaks to support both Supported Independent Living providers and Supported Residential Facilities.

The Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre continued to be managed as a high-risk facility to better prevent outbreaks and transmission of COVID-19. There was no transmission of COVID-19 to children and young people within Kurlana Tapa during the 2021–22 financial year.

COVID-19 protocols have been implemented in Youth Justice and Disability Services. Personal protection equipment (PPE) and RAT protocols were in place for Youth Justice staff who conduct face-to-face supervision or home visits with children and young people on community-based mandates, and Disability Services support staff who provide care and support to people with disability in their homes.

Protocols have also been implemented in Kurlana Tapa through regular collaboration with the Communicable Disease Control Branch of SA Health.

Safer Family Services implemented COVID-19 protocols for staff, including on the use of PPE and social distancing when conducting home visits. Staff absences due to COVID-19 are being actively managed to ensure that children and families, particularly those with high and very high risk and safety concerns, continue to be supported.

The Puti on Kaurna Yerta COVID Isolation Hub was established to support people who had been relocated to medi-hotels in Adelaide from remote communities, who would be better suited in a more culturally appropriate facility. Staffed by DHS, SA Health, Anangu and Kaurna workers, the Isolation Hub operated from 25 January 2022 to 10 March 2022 in the West Park Lands. In the initial weeks of operation a total of 56 people registered, with 44 completing the ten-day quarantine and 26 people successfully returning to their home community.

Prior to the closure of the Isolation Hub, it was recognised that a significant number of people who had been in medi-hotels had not returned immediately to their home community and remained in Adelaide. The Isolation Hub was repurposed as a Return to Country site and program. This resulted in 197 people travelling back to their community. Approximately 70% of the people who returned had come to Adelaide for a COVID-19 related reason. Following the success of Return to Country from Adelaide, a small team of DHS and SA Health staff established and implemented a similar program in Port Augusta, in partnership with SA Pathology and cultural leaders. A total of 114 people were supported to return home from Port Augusta.

In February 2022, temporary regulations for Working With Children Checks were implemented to increase workforce availability during the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicants, other than those who have committed certain serious offences, were able to work under supervision while their check was being processed.

Agency contribution to whole-of-Government objectives

Agency’s contribution

DHS administers a wide range of concessions and rebates to provide assistance to households on low or fixed incomes who are experiencing cost-of-living pressures. These include the:

  • Cost of Living Concession
  • Energy Concession
  • Medical Heating and Cooling Concession
  • Water and Sewerage Concession Scheme
  • Residential Parks Concession
  • Emergency Services Levy (fixed property) Remission
  • Transport Concession Card
  • Emergency Electricity Payment Scheme
  • Funeral AssistanceSA
  • GlassesSA
  • Personal AlertSA.

The South Australian Concessions Energy Discount Offer (SACEDO) is an ongoing offer available to energy concession customers. Origin Energy was selected to deliver SACEDO following a procurement process in 2017. As of 1 January 2021, the discount increased to 21%. SACEDO is reviewed annually.

Foodbank SA is a non-profit organisation that supports families and individuals who are experiencing food insecurity. DHS provides funding to Foodbank to support its food distribution activities, the purchase of food, as well as the operation of its Food Hubs in various locations across the state. Over the last three years, 2019–20 to 2021–22, the department will have provided over $1.13 million to Foodbank.

DHS also funds a range of financial assistance programs that are delivered by non-government organisations, which assist South Australians to manage their cost of living expenses and those experiencing financial stress and crisis. These include the:

  • Emergency Financial Assistance Program, which funds not-for profit organisations to deliver material assistance including food parcels, transport, chemist vouchers, help with accommodation, payment of bills, budgeting assistance and referral to other services to help address the underlying causes of the crisis.
  • Statewide Financial Counselling Services Program, which funds not-for-profit organisations to employ financial counsellors in every State Government region to provide free and confidential financial counselling, including debt advocacy and budget management.
  • Utilities Literacy Program (or ConnectED), which is delivered by Uniting Communities to reduce financial hardship associated with utilities-related cost of living pressures.
  • Low Income Support Program, which seeks to increase individuals’ and families’ financial resilience, as well as prevent financial crises and consequences of financial crises.

The department leads the reform of the Child and Family Support System, which includes the delivery of Intensive Family Services to families at risk of escalation of child protection involvement. Services include home-based support and agency coordination to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children in at-risk families. The reforms include the development of data collection infrastructure to enable a better understanding of the needs of families and service outcomes. In 2021–22, over 3,500 referrals were received for Intensive Family Services.

In March 2021, the department commenced a recruitment drive to hire trainee disability support workers to work in Disability Services. By the end of the 2020–21 financial year, 39 trainee roles had been filled. As at 30 June 2022, this number had increased to 101, with 39 traineeships completed and 43 underway. The remaining 19 trainees have resigned.

Since November 2018, DHS has provided free screening checks for all volunteers to lower costs for organisations and attract people to volunteering. More than 135,000 volunteers have received free screening checks, saving volunteer and community organisations over $8 million in fees.

Agency-specific objectives and performance

Priority 1 - Increasing inclusion, independence and shared decision-making for all

Our partnerships through policy, programs and services strengthen communities and enable South Australians to actively participate in community life.

Priority 1 - increasing inclusion - indicators and performance

Strategies are implemented to deliver priorities of the Volunteering Strategy for South Australia 2021–2027.

A Volunteering Strategy Action Plan 2021–2023 was developed that describes actions key stakeholders will undertake to achieve the Strategy’s priorities. Key outcomes in 2021–22 were:

  • Funding Northern Volunteering SA Inc and Southern Volunteering SA Inc to deliver the Youth into Volunteering Connector Pilot, that focused on connecting young people to volunteering opportunities and capacity building of organisations, to provide more inclusive models for engaging young people in volunteering roles.
  • Delivering a Young Changemakers Conference in October 2021 to over 90 young people from secondary schools in Northern Adelaide. This was a unique opportunity for young people to share ideas, build connections and gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to drive positive future change for our communities through volunteering.
  • Developing a Youth Volunteering Portal, which provides information for young people, students, guardians, case managers, educators and volunteer-involving organisations looking to support people aged 25 or under into volunteering.
  • Contributing to the annual review of the Guideline of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment - Volunteers, which assists in ensuring people acting as volunteers in public sector agencies are managed and otherwise treated in a fair and equitable manner.

Strategies in the Strong Futures: SA Youth Action Plan 2020–2022 continue to be implemented.

A number of programs and initiatives aligned to the priorities of the Youth Action Plan received funding from the department in 2021–22 including:

  • Youth Affairs Council of South Australia (YACSA) ($425,143), for sector support and advocacy funding as the peak representative body for South Australian young people and the youth sector.
  • Youth Support and Development Program ($1.9 million), a revised service model to better support young people into pathways for social and economic participation.
  • Port Augusta Social Vision Program ($284,118), which includes two components, the Port Augusta Youth Centre and the Salvation Army Safe Transport Service, that support better outcomes for young people in Port Augusta.
  • Service to Aboriginal Youth (STAY) ($957,972), which focuses on early intervention, providing at-risk young people with access to the services and guidance needed to achieve their goals, strengthen their cultural and community connections, and build long-term resilience.
  • Connection to Country Project ($90,000), which is to be delivered by March 2023 and aims to promote and support the engagement of Kaurna young people in learning and sharing knowledge of their histories, cultural traditions, homelands and languages.
  • LGBTIQA+ Youth Empowerment Project ($50,000), which aims to build the capacity of young LGBTIQA+ South Australians to lead advocacy and peer support within their communities, and includes a Queer Youth Summit in late 2022.
  • Young Carers Project ($50,000), a project to be delivered by Carers SA by March 2023 that will pilot a targeted intervention in a small number of State Government schools to better identify and provide school-based supports to young carers and facilitate referral pathways. At least one school will be in a regional area.

Women’s Leadership and Economic Security Strategy is launched and actions implemented.

The Women’s Leadership and Economic Security Strategy 2021–2024 was launched in August 2021 following extensive consultation led by the Office for Women. The Strategy focusses on the three key areas of employment and entrepreneurship, leadership and recognition, and financial wellbeing.

Following the election, the new State Government has introduced several new initiatives to support key gender equality policy objectives for South Australia including:

  • the establishment of a Gender Pay Gap Taskforce
  • reinstating the Premier's Women's Directory
  • the introduction of an Equality Bill to encourage the public/private sector to achieve equality and adjust procurement and grants processes to ensure funding supports equality.

A South Australian Blueprint on gender equality will be developed to highlight the key actions the South Australian Government is undertaking to promote gender equality in this state.

Review undertaken into the operation of the Disability Inclusion Act 2018.

In December 2021, Mr Richard Dennis AM PSM was appointed by the department to conduct a review into the operation and effectiveness of the Disability Inclusion Act 2018, as required under section 32 of the Act. The review included a statewide consultation process with the publication of a discussion paper on the YourSAy website. This process was open from 15 March 2022 to 10 May 2022.

During this time, Mr Dennis undertook significant consultation with peak organisations and individual stakeholders. A peak sector in-person forum was held on 21 April 2022 and a public forum on 2 May 2022. Mr Dennis also met with key representatives from DHS to discuss elements of the Act that relate to reporting and synergies with the national disability agenda, as well as other State Government agencies and local councils.

The final review report was provided to the Minister for Human Services and tabled in Parliament on 6 September 2022. Consultation will be undertaken on the report and the Disability Inclusion (Review Recommendations) Amendment Bill 2022, and its introduction to Parliament.

Review of Inclusive SA is undertaken to ensure it aligns with Australia’s Disability Strategy.

Section 14 of the Disability Inclusion Act 2018, requires a review of the State Disability Inclusion Plan 2019–2023 (Inclusive SA) to be undertaken at least once in each four-year period. With the launch of Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021–2031 on 3 December 2021, the department commenced an interim review of Inclusive SA to better reflect the shifting priorities of the community and support the outcomes and deliverables of the state’s Targeted Action Plans (TAPs).

The review examined the current actions within Inclusive SA to determine if they should be removed or replaced by more meaningful actions, or refined to better align to the national Strategy and TAPs. New actions were also considered to respond to identified gaps, specifically in health and wellbeing and safety, and rights and justice were considered for inclusion to better support the state’s response to the national Strategy. All relevant State Government agencies were consulted and endorsed their actions for inclusion in the interim review in February 2022.

The interim review report was submitted to the Minister for Human Services for tabling in Parliament. A copy will be published on the Inclusive SA website thereafter. A more fulsome review of Inclusive SA will be conducted ahead of 2023 and take into consideration any recommendations made through the review of the Disability Inclusion Act 2018.

New safeguarding app is developed for people living with disabilities.

Pavely is a uniquely South Australian smartphone app that was officially launched by the Minister for Human Services on 24 May 2022. The app drives community inclusion and greater independence for people with accessibility needs, providing users with a directory of venues and facilities across the state. It provides users the opportunity to find, rate and review their experiences based on accessibility and overall inclusiveness.

The design and development of the app was undertaken in conjunction with people with lived experience who have informed the accessibility requirements and the scope of data and information to be included. The app is available to download for free from the Apple and Android store platforms.

COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out to people with a disability and the broader community.

In March 2021, a temporary COVID-19 vaccination clinic was established at Highgate Park, to support the SA Health vaccination roll-out for workers in disability and aged care environments. The Highgate Park Vaccination Clinic was specifically for the people supported by the department in Adelaide metropolitan homes as well as Adelaide metropolitan staff who also wished to be vaccinated. In June 2021, the scope of the clinic was expanded to support the broader community in line with SA Health Vaccination Guidelines. The clinic provided priority to disability and aged care workers.

The Highgate Park Vaccination Clinic was designed specifically for people who are anxious about being vaccinated and for those who have a needle phobia, in a calm and caring environment. The clinic administered over 15,000 vaccinations before closing on 25 March 2022.

South Australian Government contributed to the development of Australia’s Disability Strategy.

The department led the South Australian Government’s input into Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021–2031, which provides a new, single overarching framework for all levels of government to deliver on its collective responsibilities for people living with disability. Officially launched on 3 December 2021, the Strategy’s vision is for an inclusive society that ensures people with disability can realise their potential, as equal members of the community.

DHS worked with the Commonwealth Government and other State Government agencies to ensure that South Australia could meaningfully contribute to the development of Targeted Action Plans (TAPs), which will help drive implementation and accountability for the new national Strategy. The South Australian Government’s actions were developed in consultation with public sector agencies, and represent work that is already resourced and underway in South Australia through the implementation of Inclusive SA (South Australia’s first State Disability Inclusion Plan) and State authority Disability Access and Inclusion Plans.

The department is responsible for monitoring and reporting on the actions proposed under the TAPs. Progress on actions is to be reported to the Commonwealth Government on an annual basis.

Priority 2 - Supporting our communities when it matters most

Our programs and services are strength-based and ensure South Australians are safe, empowered and connected in their communities.

Priority 2 - supporting our communities - indicators and performance

Implementation of the new Community Connections Program continues to be progressed.

Officially launched on 1 July 2021, the Community Connections Program supports socially isolated people who do not qualify for alternative services such as the NDIS, Mental Health and My Aged Care. The program, which replaced the existing Home and Community Care Program, provides up to 12 weeks of targeted support, by linking isolated adults with services to improve individual independence, quality of life and overall health outcomes.

Community Connections providers commenced between May 2021 and April 2022 and include:

  • a statewide network of non-government Regional Coordinating Partners and Community Partners
  • Care Partners
  • Community Passenger Networks
  • Carer Support Partners
  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations
  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations.

While some services have taken longer to commission and were not in place by July 2021, particularly Aboriginal services, participants were able to source services from other partners.

The program is in a development phase until 30 June 2023. Over the past year, the program model was refined with guidance from the Program Advisory Group, including refinements to eligibility criteria, data collection, and a new referral management system. The department will evaluate the program effectiveness throughout 2022 and 2023 to build a strong evidence base on emerging client needs and demographics, and system effectiveness and alignment.

Standard assessment of outcomes across government and non-government intensive family services are developed and implemented.

The department has led the transition to standardised outcomes assessment across all Child and Family Support System (CFSS) services, with implementation beginning from October 2021. A temporary data collection solution was implemented to record and transmit data associated with outcomes measurement tools at CFSS Pathways Service.

Permanent infrastructure to support data capture, secure transmission and analytical capability commenced development from April 2022.

Lower-intensity family support services are recommissioned.

The department commenced procurement planning to recommission the current Family and Community Support Program - Family Support and Early Intervention, in line with the reform of CFSS. The new program, Strong Families, Strong Communities is a family preservation program that aims to intervene early to strengthen families and prevent entry or escalation into child protection services.

The tender process for the program opened on 10 May and closed on 23 June 2022.

DHS hosted a number of industry briefings to inform interested organisations of the Government’s objectives and the role of this program in the CFSS reforms. The outcome of the recommissioning will be announced in 2022–23.

High-risk families and their children are supported by working in partnership with key stakeholders to ensure local service coordination.

The Safe Start Program (previously called Child and Family Assessment and Referral Networks - CFARNS) provides direct services for families presenting during pregnancy or with infants in the first 1,000 days, working collaboratively with other intensive family services. The program provides interim case management support to families whilst negotiating with and supporting local agencies to provide ongoing support.

Safe Start was initially delivered by DHS in Northern Adelaide, Southern Adelaide and the Limestone Coast, and by Relationships Australia SA (RASA) in Western Adelaide. From May 2022, DHS commenced a new service in the Whyalla/Port August region. At this time, RASA also commenced providing the program in the inner north Adelaide region.

The program was expanded following a program evaluation and the emerging evidence from the outcomes data collected by the Early Intervention Research Directorate.

Service delivery under the National Partnership on  COVID-19 Domestic and Family Violence Responses is finalised.

In 2019–20, the Commonwealth Government provided funding to each state and territory through the National Partnership on COVID-19 Domestic and Family Violence Responses to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on domestic, family and sexual violence (DFSV). Through the agreement, South Australia received $9.796 million over the 2019–20 and 2020–21 financial years to implement and expand service delivery.

While the agreement has ceased, some of the funded initiatives were still operational this financial year and continued to be monitored by the Office for Women.

These include:

  • Safe and Secure Housing program to support women and children experiencing domestic, family and sexual violence (DFSV) find mid- to long-term housing.
  • Safe and Well Kids program, which supports children and young people who are experiencing DFSV.
  • Specialist financial planning and counselling programs.
  • A response for Aboriginal women and children experiencing DFSV and sleeping rough in the park lands.

The KIND intervention program for young people who use violence towards their family members or partners.

Commencement of a trial service model to provide an alternative location for police custody, for children and young people aged 10 to 13 years.

Commencing in December 2021, the Child Diversion Program is trialling a triage and support service for Aboriginal children aged 10 to 13 years who are at risk of being remanded into custody. The program provides family engagement and support services and a safe non-custodial community-based accommodation alternative for this cohort of children. These connect children and families to longer term interventions to better prevent the child’s further entry into the youth justice or child protection systems.

Aboriginal children are prioritised for this response due to the high rates of Aboriginal incarceration.

Engagement and partnerships with Aboriginal communities and their organisations are strengthened to improve outcomes for Aboriginal young people in the youth justice system.

The department has continued to strengthen engagement and partnerships with Aboriginal communities, Elders and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations through a range of initiatives, with a particular focus on improving outcomes and reducing the over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in the youth justice system, in alignment to Closing the Gap targets.

To strengthen partnerships, DHS is working with Aboriginal Elders and leaders to identify mechanisms that will support cultural governance, co-design of programs and services, consultation and advice for Aboriginal children in case planning. This builds on the Communities and Justice Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations Forum held in April 2021.

During 2021–22, the department worked to develop a range of initiatives including:

  • the establishment of a Community Visiting Program, to connect Aboriginal children and young people with Aboriginal Elders and leaders and offer ongoing culturally appropriate support
  • culturally and trauma responsive training for Youth Justice staff in partnership with Aboriginal organisations
  • improving cultural programs and services in Kurlana Tapa
  • strengthening governance and shared decision-making in the use of community spaces to reconnect Aboriginal children and young people in community.

Safety Hubs are extended into regional South Australia.

The department has supported the establishment of ten Safety Hubs in regional South Australia to increase local access to support, information, referrals, appropriate responses and facilitated pathways for women and their children experiencing domestic, family and sexual violence. In the past year, the following four Safety Hubs have been delivered:

  • Haven at Whyalla, opened on 27 September 2021
  • Haven at Port Pirie, opened on 29 November 2021
  • Haven at Goolwa, opened on 10 January 2022
  • Port Lincoln Women's Wellbeing and Safety Centre, opened on 18 February 2022.

The Women’s Information Service (WIS) has led the establishment of seven Safety Hubs under ‘The Haven’ model. These Havens are coordinated and managed by WIS staff and supported by volunteers who are recruited and trained to provide information and referrals to women experiencing domestic, family and sexual violence. The three remaining Safety Hubs were established and are operated by Centacare Catholic Family Services, Kornar Winmil Yunti and Yarredi Services Inc.

Establishment of the Coordination and Assessment Team.

A trial of a dedicated Coordination and Assessment Team (CAT) commenced in December 2021, and is being undertaken through to December 2022, to support discharge processes from hospital for NDIS participants with complex needs. This is a collaborative pilot between the department and Wellbeing SA to deliver state funded specialist support coordination and assessment services for people with disability.

Delivered by DHS, the CAT consists of Specialist Support Coordinators and a multi-disciplinary team of allied health professionals. CAT works with NDIS participants, or prospective participants, awaiting a plan in hospital to:

  • provide specialist support coordination
  • complete assessments required for NDIS plans and transitional accommodation
  • write support letters and recommendations to the NDIA
  • provide assistance to source long-term housing.

Continued operation of the Transition to Home program.

The Transition to Home (T2H) program was established in March 2020, to support people with disability to move into transitional accommodation when they no longer need acute care, but are waiting for home modifications or access to longer term accommodation and appropriate supports under the NDIS. The department is the service provider for this program, which was developed in partnership with Wellbeing SA, the NDIA and Local Hospital Networks.

In the past year, the program was expanded with the establishment of a Southern Adelaide T2H program at the Repatriation Health Precinct in September 2021. Clients at this site can access the precinct’s services and facilities, which provide additional supports for people with more complex needs. In November 2021, the T2H program at Hampstead was relocated to the former St Margaret’s aged care service in Semaphore, which is a more suitable site to support people with disability transition back to the community.

The department engaged an expert reviewer to evaluate the T2H program against relevant NDIS Practice Standards. The review will ensure its processes and staffing can ensure high quality care for people with disability. The final report was made publicly available on 9 August 2022, and identified barriers and issues to be addressed.

New Statewide Perpetrator Response is finalised and launched.

No to Violence (NTV) a nationwide, non-government organisation with services based in South Australia, was engaged to deliver the new Statewide Perpetrator Response over three years. Commencing on 1 July 2021, this early intervention initiative focuses on enhancing the safety of women and their children by providing:

  • support and referral pathways for perpetrators of domestic and family violence
  • advice to frontline workers and workforce development opportunities
  • improved connections and information sharing between services
  • information and support for relatives, friends and victims.

The service will better support frontline workers such as nurses, social workers and child protection workers to recognise and respond to clients and assist perpetrators themselves to address their abusive behaviour.

Priority 3 - Delivering modern services for our communities

Our services reflect the changing needs of South Australians and are focused on supporting positive and lasting outcomes.

Priority 3 - delivering modern services - indicators and performance

Aboriginal Language Interpreting Service is operationalised.

The Aboriginal Language Interpreting Service (ALIS) commenced in December 2021, to support Aboriginal people experiencing communication and/or cultural barriers when accessing services in South Australia. ALIS offers Aboriginal language interpreting face-to-face in the Adelaide metropolitan area and Port Augusta, and by phone across South Australia.

During 2021–22, ALIS completed 205 interpreting assignments. Approximately 58% of all work was delivered within the Courts Administration Authority and 22% within the SA Health Network. The remaining work was undertaken within DHS, Department for Education, Baptist Care SA, SA Housing Authority, Serco Remand, Uniting Communities, NSW Department of Education, Service Australia, the University of Adelaide, Ninti One Limited and Wirltu Yarlu.

A total of ten interpreters were recruited offering interpreting in Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara, Eastern Arrernte, Western Arrernte, Pintubi/Luritja, Warlpiri, Alyawarre and Anmatyerre. The department continues to actively recruit Aboriginal language interpreters to meet demand for the service.

Family Safety Portal launched and implemented across relevant agencies.

Since July 2020, the department has worked to develop the digitisation of the Family Safety Framework (FSF) through the creation of the Family Safety Portal. This will allow the entire administration and case management process of the FSF to be conducted within one secure online environment and enhance the ability to collect data to inform policy decisions.

From June 2022, the Family Safety Portal was functional for all agencies (government and non-government) to undertake Domestic Violence Risk Assessments and submit referrals for high-risk victims of domestic, family and sexual violence. Meeting and case management elements of the Portal were rolled out to the Western Metropolitan, Limestone Coast and Whyalla Family Safety meetings in June 2022. The remaining 14 regional meetings will be onboarded to the Family Safety Portal in a staged approach during 2022.

DHS Disability Services continues to be reformed to operate in line with the NDIS.

DHS Disability Services is undertaking external audits required by the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Commission, in preparation for full transition to the NDIS. In November 2021, the service successfully passed its first registration audit by the Commission, and is now registered to provide community nursing, transport and community participation.

An additional audit and variation to our NDIS registration for Behaviour Support and Implementing Behaviour Support, including authorisation for the implementation of regulated restrictive practices, was completed in June.

Provision of equipment and home modification services to South Australians who are ineligible for funding through Commonwealth programs.

The DHS Equipment Program supports and funds South Australians who are otherwise ineligible for equipment and home modifications through Commonwealth Government funding options. Supports are provided to the following client cohorts:

  • Advanced Palliative Equipment Response
  • Adults with Chronic Conditions
  • Wigs, Medical Grade Footwear and Orthoses
  • Community Connections Program
  • clients with a disability who are ineligible for the NDIS.

During 2021–22, the DHS Equipment Program:

  • provided 9,643 equipment items (new and reissued) to clients
  • undertook 357 home modifications
  • completed 1,015 equipment repair and maintenance requests
  • facilitated 899 Allied Health services.

Home modification, equipment repair and maintenance requests, and Allied Health services are coordinated via the DHS Equipment Program and outsourced to private suppliers.

Commencement of South Australia’s Restrictive Practices Authorisation scheme.

Commencing on 30 May 2022, the Disability Inclusion (Restrictive Practices - NDIS) Amendment Act 2021 amends the South Australian Disability Inclusion Act 2018 to establish a legislative framework for the authorisation of restrictive practices. The Restrictive Practices Authorisation scheme regulates the authorisation of restrictive practices used by registered NDIS providers, providing support and services to NDIS participants.

A new unit was established in the department, led by the Senior Authorising Officer, to authorise regulated restrictive practices.

During the 2021–22 financial year, there were 49 Authorised Program Officers who met the selection criteria outlined in the Disability Inclusion (Restrictive Practices - NDIS) Regulations 2021, and were authorised by the Senior Authorising Officer to undertake the role.

A total of 138 restrictive practices were authorised by the Senior Authorising Officer comprising:

  • 117 authorisations of environmental, chemical and mechanical restrictive practices. These may be Level 1 or Level 2 restrictive practices depending on the circumstances.
  • 21 authorisations of seclusion and physical restrictive practices, which are categorised as Level 2 practices.

Commencement of the construction phase of the Kurlana Tapa Consolidation Project.

Sarah Constructions Pty Ltd was awarded the construction contract in March 2022, with site works commencing in April 2022. Phase one will see the establishment of high security fencing to create a secure construction zone, which will allow for construction to take place while the site remains fully operational.

The capital works program will deliver:

  • a new 12-bed accommodation unit with a centralised office space and design considerations to better support young people with complex needs
  • a new 8-bed police custody unit to ensure that children and young people awaiting court appearances will be accommodated separately from children and young people on periods of remand or sentenced detention
  • new classroom space to enable education requirements to be met
  • an extended visiting space to support children and young people having time with families and visitors.

The capital works program is expected to achieve practical completion by 30 June 2023, which will allow for the decommissioning and sale of the Jonal Drive campus.

Actions continue to be progressed to implement a therapeutic approach at the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre.

The Enhanced Support Team Pilot commenced at the Kurlana Tapa Youth Justice Centre in August 2021. The pilot aims to provide intensive behaviour support planning and consultation to assist operational staff working with children and young people to proactively respond to behaviours of concern, and support increased emotional and behavioural stability.

Clinical and custodial staff are developing a model of therapeutic care for children and young people with complex needs, incorporating staff practice development and education. The Youth Justice Assessment and Intervention Services is also supporting the delivery of trauma-informed practice training to all operational staff.

The project to develop a Sensory and Environmental Framework (formerly Sensory Modulation Framework) has continued. The Framework is being developed in partnership with the University of South Australia to increase understanding of, and respond to, the sensory processing needs of children and young people in custody.

Corporate performance summary

The following is a summary of key corporate initiatives in 2021–22:

  • The DHS Diversity and Inclusion Survey was undertaken to seek feedback on how we are doing and what more we can do to be an inclusive workplace. Results from the November 2021 survey are being used to help steer the direction of the department’s Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan 2020–2023 and inform policies and programs in 2022.
  • In December 2021, DHS launched its new strategic plan and corporate branding. The DHS Strategic Plan 2022–24 has three ambitious priorities and 12 priority outcomes, in addition to value-based statements outlining the way in which the department will work to deliver against the Strategy.
  • The DHS 'I Work for SA' Action Plan 2022 was launched in December 2021, in response to the results of the 'I Work for SA' - Your Voice Survey conducted by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment (OCPSE) in early 2021. A series of focus groups were undertaken to assist in the development of the Action Plan, which addresses five main action areas to make the necessary improvements to ensure DHS is an even better place to work.
  • The department commenced the process to work towards Rainbow Tick accreditation, which is a nationally recognised quality framework that will demonstrate that DHS is a safe, inclusive and affirming service provider and employer. Rainbow Tick accreditation will be progressed from January 2022 to June 2023.
  • The new DHS Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan: April 2022–March 2024 was launched in April 2022, demonstrating the department’s commitment to ensuring it takes action on reconciliation and social justice for Aboriginal staff, clients and the community. The DHS Reconciliation Committee is responsible for the implementation of the Reconciliation Action Plan on behalf of the Executive Leadership Team.
  • The DHS Aboriginal Cultural Footprint is a continuous learning journey that allows the participant to build their own cultural capability, with the goal of building a workforce that is culturally safe and responsive when delivering services to the Aboriginal community. The Footprint was officially launched with the department’s new Reconciliation Action Plan in April 2022. As at 30 June 2022, 1,076 staff had completed Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Training, 134 undertaken the South Australian History Trust - Impact Program, and 103 had completed the Aboriginal Cultural Appreciation Workshop.
  • In April 2022, the Social Impact Framework and Assessment Tool was released. Developed by the department in partnership with the community sector, the Framework provides a blueprint for assessing and optimising our investment in the non-government sector.
  • On 3 June 2022, the DHS Reconciliation Committee convened a panel discussion event to celebrate National Reconciliation Week. Over 300 staff attended (in person or via Zoom) with guest speakers exploring this year’s theme of ‘Be Brave. Make Change’, followed by a panel discussion.
  • Teamgage is an online system that builds employee engagement by allowing staff to provide regular workplace feedback. Seven new metrics were included in Teamgage to reflect the focus areas that the department is working on in the DHS 'I Work for SA' Action Plan 2022 and key operational concerns for business units. The metrics comprise five core metrics for all teams across the department and two metrics chosen by divisions.
  • The See Me For Me disability awareness campaign was launched to improve community understanding and attitudes about people with disability. The campaign, which ran from 30 June to 13 August 2022, was developed by the department in consultation with people living with disability and the disability advocacy organisation JFA Purple Orange.
  • Wellbeing Rooms were established in the Riverside Centre, providing employees with access to private spaces to attend to wellbeing needs relating to disability, health care, breastfeeding/pumping, pregnancy, and cultural and religious purposes. The rooms were established in response to staff feedback through the DHS Diversity and Inclusion Survey. Similar spaces will be established at the department’s other worksites.

Employment opportunity programs

Peformance of employment opportunity programs

Program name


Aboriginal Traineeship Program

As at 30 June 2022, one Aboriginal trainee had been recruited as part of the department’s target for the 2022 calendar year. Plans are underway to recruit another 13 Aboriginal trainees across DHS, with ten of the 14 trainees to be in frontline areas and four in corporate roles.

Aboriginal Workforce Employment Initiatives

The department continues to pursue the workforce initiatives under its DHS Aboriginal Workforce Strategy 2021–2023. In the past 12 months, 57 new Aboriginal staff members were employed in the department.

CareerTrackers Internship Program

DHS partnered with CareerTrackers to provide recurring paid internship opportunities for two Aboriginal university students during their semester breaks. The primary goal of the program is to support students in transitioning from intern to full-time employment upon completion of their degree.

Disability Support Officers

DHS Disability Services is continuing to recruit Disability Services Officers to ensure it can build strong and secure teams around clients. During the 2021–22 financial year, the department employed 283 new disability support workers.

Skilling SA Public Sector Project

25 new employees were recruited to DHS under this initiative, which is being led by OCPSE. Three were under 30 years of age.

Stanton Institute

In addition to the new employees recruited through the Skilling SA initiative, the DHS Stanton Institute trained a further 100 new recruits in the Certificate III in Individual Support to commence work in Disability Services.

Trainee Disability Support Workers

In March 2021, the department commenced a recruitment drive to hire trainee disability support workers to work in Disability Services. As at 30 June 2022, 101 trainee roles had been filled, with 39 traineeships completed and 43 underway. The remaining 19 trainees have resigned.

Agency performance management and development systems

Performance development plans

Performance management and development system


The department’s employee Performance Development Framework provides a clear, structured approach to workforce development by supporting managers and employees to establish and maintain effective Performance Development Plans (PDPs).

PDPs are to be formally discussed at least twice per year in annual and mid-cycle Performance Development Reviews. Reporting the completion of Performance Development Reviews on HR21 is mandatory to meet the department’s reporting requirements.

The percentage of employees with a Performance Development Review in the last 12 months has slightly decreased from 73.9% in 2020–21 to 71.7% in 2021–22.

As at 30 June 2022, 51.6% of Performance Development Reviews were current, having been reviewed within the last six months.

Of the remaining reviews:

  • 20.2% had expired being over six months
  • 15.4% had expired being over 12 months
  • 8.8% were not recorded for staff with at least 90 days of service
  • 4.0% were not recorded for new staff with less than 90 days of service.

Work health, safety and return to work programs

Peformance of work health and safety programs

Program name


Risk Management

DHS maintains a responsive safety management system to reduce the likelihood of serious harm or injuries to its workforce. The Building Safety Excellence in the Public Sector (BSEPS) strategy includes a target under Performance Measure 3 to reduce the overall number of new workplace injury claims for the South Australian public sector. The target is a 30% or more reduction in new claims by  2021–22 (from base year of 2011–12).

This target was achieved by the department with 172 new claims in 2021–22, a 53% reduction from a baseline of 365 claims.

Safety Management System

The Safety Management System (SMS) is a set of policies, procedures and plans that strengthen our ability to improve wellbeing and safety. The key documents under the SMS are the:

  • Wellbeing and Safety Policy
  • Wellbeing and Safety Strategy 2019–2023
  • DHS Mentally Healthy Workplaces Strategy, Your Mental Health Matters
  • Safety Management System Implementation Guide.

In 2020–21, the department’s SMS was refined to ensure it considers the altered risk profile of our department and provides clear line of site to the Building Safety Excellence in the Public Sector strategy, Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022, and reflects internal policy, objectives and risks.

The DHS SMS Internal Audit Plan provides the basis for a structured, planned and risk-based approach to independent assurance and compliance assessment activities in relation to the SMS for the period July 2021 to December 2023.

Gov SAfety

In May 2022, the department successfully transitioned to Gov SAfety, the State Government’s new work health and safety incident reporting system.

Staff use Gov SAfety to report the following as they occur:

  • workplace hazards
  • workplace incidents, with or without injury
  • client incidents
  • feedback - complaints, compliments and suggestions.

Mental Health First Aid Skilled Workplace

DHS has maintained its ‘Gold’ standard accreditation from Mental Health First Aid Australia as a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Skilled Workplace. First received in 2019–20, the accreditation recognises the department’s investment in developing mental health first aid skills in our people. The department continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to embedding the MHFA program into our culture through senior leadership support, relevant policies and continuous improvement.

Influenza Vaccination Program

All staff are encouraged to participate in the DHS Influenza Vaccination Program, which is part of the department’s health and wellbeing initiative and contributes to infection control strategies and the prevention of seasonal pandemic influenza. The voluntary program promotes a healthy workplace by preventing the flu spreading to other staff and clients, reduces influenza-related absenteeism, and increases productivity and engagement.

COVID-19 Wellbeing

The department’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider has been engaged to undertake wellbeing checks on staff impacted by COVID-19. Staff who test positive will receive a wellbeing phone call from the EAP provider to check how they are feeling and determine if they require any follow up support.

Workplace injury claims

Workplace injuries

Workplace injury claims



% Change
(+ / -)

Total new workplace injury claims








Seriously injured workers [Note 1]




Significant injuries (where lost time exceeds a working week, expressed as frequency rate per 1,000 FTE)




Note 1: Number of claimants assessed during the reporting period as having a whole person impairment of 30% or more under the Return to Work Act 2014 (Part 2 Division 5).

Work health and safety regulations

Work health and safety incidents and notices

Work health and safety regulations



% Change
(+ / -)

Number of notifiable incidents (Work Health and Safety Act 2012, Part 3)




Number of provisional improvement, improvement and prohibition notices (Work Health and Safety Act 2012 Sections 90, 191 and 195)




Return to work costs

Cost of workers compensation and income support

Return to work costs (before third party recovery)



% Change
(+ / -)

Total gross workers compensation expenditure




Income support payments - gross




Data for previous years is available at: Data.SA - DHS Annual Report - Annual report data

Executive employment in the agency

Numbers of executives employed this financial year

Executive classification

Number of executives







The number of executives is based on the number as at 30 June 2022.

Data for previous years is available at: Data.SA - DHS Annual Report - Annual report data

The Office of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment has a workforce information page that provides further information on the breakdown of executive gender, salary and tenure by agency.

Page last updated : 27 Oct 2022

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