Dr Meegan Crawford is a social worker and currently works as the Director, Practice Quality and Clinical Support, DCSYW. In this role she oversees a number of teams: Practice Improvement; Practice Advice and Support; Practice Response and Practice Development and three Practice Leader positions. A key focus of her work over the past 4 years has been the development and implementation of the Strengthening Families Protecting Children Framework for Practice, a strengths-based, safety-oriented framework.
Rethinking ‘care teams’ – looking to Safety and Support Networks (Oral Paper Presentation)
Supporting children and their families to increase safety is central to statutory child protection practice. While ‘care teams’ has been a concept widely adopted, Queensland’s Child Safety Department has shifted the dial to consider a broader collectivist approach to safety. This models what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families have been using for generations to ensure the safety of their family members. Rather than rely on professionals and carers, as is typically seen in ‘care team’ models, the Safety and Support Network aims to build on and strengthen a child’s and family’s natural network. In the longer term this sustains safety and allows for continued assistance post the Department’s withdrawal of statutory intervention. Key to effective Safety and Supports Networks are a number of factors: clear understanding of the harm and future worries, information exchange, working agreements regarding differing views, involvement of the child or young person themselves where possible, and a clear safety plan that covers all the ‘what ifs’. When needed, the roles and responsibilities of the network members can adapt to develop and offer a ‘high intensity response’ that provides an intensive, seamless, wraparound safety and support plan during periods of increased risk and complexity. Since implementation of the Safety and Support Network concept in 2017, Queensland has seen increases in Intervention with Parental Agreement cases and more robust and safety-oriented partnerships with family and community members.