CYF sees steady fall in unallocated cases
15 July 2004
Child, Youth and Family sees steady fall in unallocated cases and rise in notifications
Notifications of suspected child abuse coming into Child, Youth and Family have increased by over 10,000 in the past year but the number of unallocated cases has steadily gone down over the past six months.
The latest figures for the year to end of June 2004 show that notifications to the Department stood at 43,143, up from 33,102 the year before (to end of June 2003) and 28,509 (year to end of June 2002).
Shannon Pakura, Acting General Manager Social Work Operations said: “Contributing factors to the growth in notifications are an increase in public awareness of the issue of child abuse, the initiatives from both Government and the community reinforcing the message that child abuse is not acceptable and the reporting of historical and recent child abuse cases.”
In August 2003, the number of unallocated cases – those cases where a social worker was yet to be allocated to a case – stood at 1,222. After a sharp rise between September 2003 and January 2004, the Department has achieved some success in reducing the number of unallocated cases despite an increase in notifications. In January 2004, the number of unallocated cases stood at 4,600, in April at 4,500, in May at 3,800 and in June at 3,600.
Once a case is allocated, a social worker will carry out further investigation to establish whether any action or intervention by the Departmental is required or not.
On the whole, for the most critical and very urgent cases – where response times are 24 hours and 48 hours respectively - Child, Youth and Family has allocated these cases in a timely way.
During 2003, a Baseline Review of the Child, Youth and Family was undertaken which acknowledged that the Department was under considerable fiscal and service pressure. Since then there have been significant additional investment and structural changes to enable Child, Youth and Family to carry out its functions more effectively.
These include the recruitment of 93 additional social workers between December 2003 and June 2004, with a further 56 being recruited at the moment. There are also strategies, such as the Demand Management Strategy, being developed to improve workforce capability and to better manage workflow in order to continue the downward trend the Department has started seeing with regard to unallocated cases.
Shannon Pakura said: “The recommendations in the Baseline Review are aimed at improving the performance of the Department in a sustained way and the first phase has been to stabilise. The reduction in unallocated cases at a time when there has been a parallel increase in notifications is an encouraging sign that the goals of the Baseline Review are being fulfilled.”