Saturday, 25 August 2007

Qld: Staff awards recognise excellence in child protection

Staff awards recognise excellence in child protection

Child protection workers were acknowledged today at the Department of Child Safety's third annual Recognition of Excellence Awards at Parliament House.

Child Safety Minister Desley Boyle presented awards to more than 80 staff from right around Queensland for projects that covered the whole spectrum of child protection work.

"The work our staff do is not easy. They work with children who have been abused and neglected and with parents who don't - or won't - keep their children safe. They save children's lives," Ms Boyle said.

"These awards give staff some formal recognition for the very important job they do."

Ms Boyle said Child Safety staff and staff from government and community partners were asked to nominate people they thought had done exceptional work and deserved to be recognised.

There were a record 54 nominations across eight categories. There are around 80 award recipients because almost all of the winners are teams of people who have worked on new or special projects," Ms Boyle said.

"For example, we have about 50 record keeping officers - one in every Child Safety Service Centre across the State - who together are doing a tremendous job.

"They free up Child Safety Officers to work with children and make sure files on children are complete and easy to find.

"Good records can also give adults who grew up in care an idea of what they were like as a child."

Ms Boyle said most of the award winners were Child Safety staff, but some of the winning teams included people from other government agencies or community partners.

"These partnerships are really important because it is usually not one single thing that brings a child to the attention of the Child Safety department," she said.

Each category winner or team was presented with a framed certificate and a $2000 voucher for training and development.

There are an estimated 7300 children in care in Queensland and the Department of Child Safety expects to record 73,500 concerns about a child's safety or wellbeing this financial year. Of those, 33,600 are expected to be cases of suspected child abuse and neglect.

The award winners were:

• Excellence in Client / Customer Service - Record Sustainability Project by Child Safety Service Centre Record Officers.

Records Officers were appointed to all child safety service centres in January 2006 and create and manage about 5000 electronic files a month.

• Excellence in Child Protection Practice - Sunshine Coast Evolve Interagency Services led by Senior Practitioner Colin Smith

The Evolve team brings together Child Safety, Queensland Health, Disability Services and Education Queensland to work out how to best help children-in-care with significant behavioural and psychological issues or significant disability behaviour support needs. The Sunshine Coast team is working exceptionally well to support local children.

• Building Queensland's Regions - Far North Queensland Children at Risk Network

This network brings together government departments (Child Safety, Education Queensland, Queensland Police, Department of Communities, Disability Services Queensland, Queensland Health, Department of Housing and the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships) to provide support to children at risk of entering the child protection system and their families.

• Engaging and Serving Communities - True Costs of Caring project

This project reviewed the costs of caring for a foster child and resulted in the increase of the fortnightly allowance for foster carers earlier this year.

• Focussing on Our People - Manager of Asset Management Lloyd Campbell

The project is rolling out a $30million program to build 17 new offices and 30 office relocations, expansions or refurbishments across Queensland.

• Innovation and Creativity - Integrated Client Management System

The ICMS IT system is the only known computer system designed from the point of view of the child protection worker. It involved transferring more than 1.7million documents to the new system and training staff in how to use it.

• Leadership Excellence - North Queensland Zonal Leadership Team for its Five Big Ticket Items project

This team set up special committees to develop and implement strategies to face five key child protection challenges in North Queensland - rural and remote service delivery; Indigenous children; partnerships with community organisations; recruitment and communication systems.

• Partnerships and Reconciliation - Ipswich and Western Zone Community and Support Team

Staff worked with Indigenous organisations (Mereki in Toowoomba, Children of the Dreaming in Ipswich and WICA in St George) to build their capacity to provide cultural advice on Indigenous children in care.

Source: Ministerial Media Release

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