Progress Update on Victoria’s Vulnerable Children – Our Shared Responsibility

10 October 2012

Following the release of the Victoria’s Vulnerable Children – Our Shared Responsibility Directions Paper (Directions Paper) in May 2012, the Department of Human Services has been busy implementing many of the Directions Paper’s first-year recommendations. The Department of Human Services is also working with other government departments to progress work on whole-of-government projects.

Work is underway to change the way the Department of Human Services operates, to ensure that client needs are at the centre of what we do. Some of the key highlights so far include:

  • Leading the development of a whole-of-government vulnerable children strategy.
  • Testing the first phase of the Services Connect model (Managed Support) in the Dandenong, Geelong and South West Coast areas. Managed Support will deliver holistic, outcomes-focused and family-sensitive support to individuals and their families with the goal of sustained positive change in their lives. Managed Support is expected to lead to better identification of the issues that have been given rise to vulnerability in an individual or family and better coordination by a Key Worker of the planning and supports appropriate to that individual or family in order to build their ability to self manage. As part of the Services Connect testing, we will be assessing the benefits of a whole-of-government single support plan for children known to child protection and their families.
  • Consulting with key stakeholders on implementing a range of projects outlined in the Directions Paper including a program of legislative reform; more inclusive decision making; sexual assault services and therapeutic residential care.
  • In partnership with the Department of Justice progressing work on the design and development of three new Multi-disciplinary Centres for Victoria in the Latrobe Valley, Bendigo and a metropolitan location yet to be confirmed. The centres will co-locate specialist police investigators, child protection practitioners and sexual assault counsellors, to provide a holistic response from a single location to victims of sexual assault and child abuse and their families. These new centres build on the success of the three existing Multi-disciplinary Centres in Geelong, Frankston and Mildura to help victims of sexual assault and child abuse crimes.

A central component of the Directions Paper is the Victorian Government’s commitment to develop and release a vulnerable children strategy. The strategy, to be released during 2013, will have a whole-of-government focus and will take a systematic, action and future-focused approach to build integrated, streamlined, sustainable and connected services that focus on protecting and supporting vulnerable children.

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