Department of Human Services

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The case for change

One in three children born in South Australia is reported to the Department for Child Protection by age 10. We know these relate to matters of genuine concern.

Many families have multiple and complex needs that can impact on parenting, including:

  • domestic and family violence
  • parental alcohol and other drug abuse
  • unaddressed or poorly managed mental health needs
  • homelessness
  • financial stress and long-term unemployment.

When children are removed from their families and placed in care, this is a traumatic experience that can continue to impact health and wellbeing throughout their lives life and across generations.

For Aboriginal families, this is made worse by the intergenerational trauma from children being forcefully taken from their communities and culture.

The continuing over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care demands major changes to the governance, design, practice, and workforce of early intervention services. We need to work together to address the impacts of intergenerational trauma from experiences of colonisation, the Stolen Generations, and other past discriminatory government policies.

Our reform provides an opportunity to create a better alignment between the needs of children and families and the services that aim to support them.

We will do this by developing a more sophisticated understanding of what these children and families need through studying causes and better measurement of outcomes.

Adopting this approach will improve our visibility of cumulative harm, an important recommendation made by the Nyland Royal Commission, and support our capacity to monitor equity in access to services.

By building new data systems and implementing new tools to measure family complexity and service impact, we will be able to reach new levels of understanding to inform system-wide planning.

Through our contribution to the implementation of the Safe and well strategy, child and family support services will be strengthened to work with higher levels of complexity and risk, providing the right service intensity over the right duration, according to the level of complexity faced by families.

We know that positive outcomes for families will be assisted by delivering an interconnected system dedicated to child and family support, working alongside families, the Department of Child Protection and other key agencies including Health and Education.

Page last updated : 17 Sep 2021

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