A report recently released by the Department of Human Services highlighted that more than 60 children have been abused in Out- of- Home Care services in Victoria in the past year, leaving many questioning whether intervention really is the answer in protecting vulnerable children from harm?
Victoria’s Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge stated that the carers responsible for the abuse represented a small percentage of those working in the child protection system. These incidents reinforce the need to build the capacity and quality of carers to improve outcomes for children living in care.
Best practice for protection of children often revolves around early intervention strategies, concentrating on specifically younger children. It is often overlooked that vulnerable children often require support throughout their journey to adulthood. Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews recently spoke of the importance of boosting parental competence and the need to focus on the child’s entire pathway “I believe the most effective assistance for families – and individuals – is to focus interventions on key transition or readiness points across the whole of life,” he stated earlier in the month.
Some key best practice principles taken from a variety of sources include:
- Encourage community service organisations to build a supportive and nurturing network for carers through engagement and education
- Involve families and communities in decision making processes as it supports unity and synergy in developing best outcomes
- Work collaboratively and effectively with other community service organisations to reduce the impact of service breakdown on families