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Unallocated Cases Update

Media Release 22/2/01

Child, Youth and Family is assuring the public that it has systems in place to monitor the safety of children whose cases are awaiting allocation.

A manual count at each office shows 3823 unallocated care and protection cases as at 16 February 2001. Of these cases approximately 1,500 of the cases in the unallocated category have received an initial social work intervention with children made safe where this is necessary. In all other cases Child, Youth and Family has assessed that there are no immediate safety concerns.

Child, Youth and Family's general manager service delivery Ken Rand says the safety of children is paramount and the Department's monitoring systems mean that all cases are regularly reviewed to ensure children and young people continue to be safe. Where risk factors change, the priority for response is reviewed.

“Getting on top of unallocated cases is our top priority", Mr Rand said.

In the six months to 31 December 2000, the department received 14,401 notifications, of which nearly 12, 100 required further action by Child, Youth and Family. In last half of 1999 the Department received 13, 547 notifications received in of which 10, 970 required further action. This increase of 1,130 is the result of increased notifications and a greater percentage of cases requiring further action by the Department.

When Child, Youth and Family receives a notification, an experienced intake social worker makes an initial assessment of the degree of urgency of the case. This assessment identifies those cases that require a very speedy response - the same day or the following day. Other cases are assessed as being less urgent. These are cases where there is no immediate risk to the child, or where abuse and neglect is not the reason for the notification.

The Department said that the additional $36 million investment it received in the last Budget was paying off in its ability to improve its core capacity to deal with child abuse and neglect cases. The $5.4 million provided by the Government in November was helping to recruit and retain social workers to provide proper care for children. The Department also said it was looking forward to implementing the Mick Brown report which will be released by Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey shortly.

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