Noel Fittock is a manager with Tasmania’s Children and Youth Services and is responsible for operationalising key elements of the State Government’s Strong Families Safe Kids reform agenda within the Child Safety Service. Noel has worked across a range of children, young people and family focused health and community services. Noel has spent considerable time working in the outer western suburbs of Sydney, in rural NSW and over 4 ½ years in the United Kingdom.
Rethinking Threshold. The New Front Door to Services for Tasmania’s Vulnerable Children and Families (1)
The Tasmanian Child Safety system, like similar systems nationally and internationally, faces increasing pressure from rising notification rates, increased complexities and growing costs associated with children in out-of-home care (2).
The pressure on the Child Safety system continues to increase, driving:
• an increase in the threshold for Child Safety and a widening of the gap between that threshold and the threshold for access to voluntary family support services, and
• a significant service gap for families and children who are above the threshold for services provided through non-government organisations, and below the threshold of active intervention by Child Safety (3).
Tasmania is the first jurisdiction in Australia to adopt an approach based on Professor David Thorpe’s “The New Front Door”. This approach shifts focus from solely assessing whether the information provided in a notification is ‘risky enough’ for a Child Safety intervention, to include assessing what intervention the child and family need to be safe and well.
The New Front Door approach supports mainstream service providers to respond to the difficulties faced by under-resourced families – families who are in crisis, approaching the point of crisis or unwilling to receive help through traditional services due to shame and a lack of trust and who are often unable to be assisted through a Child Safety system. This approach aims to prevent families from inadvertently ending up in the Child Safety system due to a lack of early identification and intervention. This in turn creates greater focus on children needing protection now.
(1). The information presented in this submission is the intellectual property of Department of Communities Tasmania.
(2). Department of Health and Human Services. Redesign of Child Protection Services Tasmania. Strong Families – Safe Kids. March 2016
(3). Department of Health and Human Services. Strong Families – Safe Kids Implementation Plan 2016- 2020.