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Practice leadership

Summary

The following practice leaders are part of The Orange Door:

  • integrated practice leader
  • advanced family violence practice leader
  • senior child protection practitioner
  • Aboriginal practice leader
  • service system navigators

Service system navigators are employed by FSV to establish and maintain practice interface agreements with key services across the local service network and to resolve system access and navigation issues, including to strengthen access and responsiveness to diverse communities.

The other practice leaders provide primary and secondary consultation support and help to build workforce capability at The Orange Door. The key functions delivered by the practice leaders include:

  • case-based support to practitioners within The Orange Door and family violence services, family services and perpetrator services in the area to enhance their work with clients
  • professional advice and supports that builds the skills, knowledge and capability of practitioners and family violence services, family services and perpetrator services in the area.

In addition, these practice leaders:

  • provide direct support to some clients, building on the functions delivered by The Orange Door practitioners.
  • build on the core work and knowledge base of The Orange Door team by contributing specialist expertise and advice in relation to their ‘own’ specialisation. They may provide consultation to practitioners or work directly with a targeted cohort of The Orange Door clients.
  • focus on supporting practitioners and core services through case-based secondary consultation and capability building.

What this looks like within The Orange Door

The practice leaders assist practitioners to better understand specific approaches, strategies and tools to support working with the range of clients. They have a sophisticated understanding of the local network of services available in their area of expertise.

Cohort

Support is available to individuals, families with children and perpetrators, as well as particular cohorts. For example, an Aboriginal practice leader are available within The Orange Door to support work with Aboriginal clients. The practice leaders support clients (except for the Service System Navigators), practitioners and families who have multiple needs, are high risk or have significant complexities.

Workforce

Practice leaders are senior practitioners or experts in their area of specialisation and have the relationships, agency, authorisation and expertise to achieve outcomes for clients.

Practice leaders work with clients, practitioners and core services staff in the area. They may also work directly with clients in conjunction with practitioners.

Practice tools, frameworks and approaches

Practice leaders work in a manner consistent with best practice in their chosen field and aligned with The Orange Door service model. They embed their specialist knowledge of service systems into the multidisciplinary and collaborative approach of The Orange Door.

Timing and duration

Client contact with the practice leaders occurs within the standard operating hours.

Practice leaders are available for secondary consultation with practitioners during the operating hours of The Orange Door.

Senior child protection practitioners1

Summary

Senior child protection practitioners are based within The Orange Door to provide expert advice regarding the safety and wellbeing of children, to provide access to information about current or previous assessments and interventions by Child Protection and to support engagement with services.

Through this connection, improved opportunities exist to provide at-risk families and children with wraparound supports to address concerns, including being able to consider the wider suite of interventions such as those mediated through police or men’s behaviour change services, which can have an impact on women and children’s safety. The Orange Door is also networked with Aboriginal services to ensure that the needs, preferences, cultural and community context of Aboriginal children are taken into account.

1 Previously known as a community-based child protection practitioner, as based with Child FIRST

Child Protection refers to The Orange Door where it formerly referred to Child FIRST – that is, where it does not identify a significant risk of harm but it identifies a family in need of support with the care, wellbeing and development of children and young people. People and organisations, including The Orange Door and police, continue to make reports as soon as practicable to Child Protection where they have formed a reasonable belief that a child is in need of protection from significant risk of harm.

What this looks like within The Orange Door

Senior child protection practitioners provide expert advice regarding the safety and wellbeing of children to The Orange Door team. They are able to access information about current or previous assessments and interventions by Child Protection, which supports The Orange Door to undertake assessment and planning for children and families. Senior child protection practitioners continue to work with the broader family services system.

The senior child protection practitioner’s role within The Orange Door supports the work of The Orange Door team and the wider professionals in the family services, family violence services and perpetrator services systems. They are engaged by practitioners in activities to do with risk assessment and decision making for children, including unborn children, and young people where there are risks and concerns held that may escalate to significant harm. This includes participating in triage and assessment, case conferences and other multi-professional meetings, and in assertive outreach and engagement alongside other practitioners.

Senior child protection practitioners enhance the suite of responses available to children and families from The Orange Door and maximise opportunities for meaningful engagement with services. Their role with families who have repeated need for services and/or where services have failed in their attempts at engagement is key to ensuring a report to Child Protection remains as the last resort.

Practitioners within The Orange Door consult with the senior child protection practitioner when:

  • they need to determine if there is any information held by Child Protection that may inform their assessment and subsequent responses to a child or young person and family
  • concern is identified for an unborn child to the extent that it is likely a report to Child Protection will need to be made after birth
  • they form a view that there are significant wellbeing concerns for children, including unborn, and young people that have been referred and/or risk may be escalating (consultation occurs to inform assessment, intervention options and to determine whether a report to Child Protection needs to be made)
  • a referral is received directly from Child Protection intake, who have assessed it as requiring involvement of the senior child protection practitioner (known as ‘enhanced’ referrals)

The senior child protection practitioner determines if a report is required and is responsible for transferring these reports to the relevant area-based Child Protection team for investigation.

Cohort

Child Protection receives and assesses reports of alleged child abuse and neglect of children and young people from birth to 17 years of age including reports relating to unborn children.

Key roles for the senior child protection practitioner include:

  • consultation and advice to The Orange Door on specific cases, including assistance with risk assessment and management
  • consultation with Child Protection teams in relation to referrals and reports between The Orange Door and Child Protection
  • education and advice for practitioners and agencies regarding statutory processes and responsibilities

The senior child protection practitioner also supports the wider services and agencies that interface with The Orange Door, in particular, family services and family violence services.

It is not expected that the senior child protection practitioner is involved in all cases that The Orange Door work with where there are children and concerns for their wellbeing. This might be for the following reasons.

  • The child is already known to Child Protection. In this case it is expected that The Orange Door practitioners engage directly with the allocated child protection practitioner. This could include where there has been a simultaneous report to Child Protection intake and The Orange Door (for example, via the L17 portal) or where Child Protection planning identifies the need for services to be accessed and allocated via The Orange Door.
  • The initial identification of concerns does not indicate that Child Protection advice, information or involvement is warranted (the concerns are not assessed by The Orange Door practitioners as significant).
  • The Orange Door practitioners can make a report to Child Protection at any time. If there are immediate safety concerns, The Orange Door practitioners can contact Child Protection intake directly (or the Child Protection central after-hours service)

In most cases, where practicable, The Orange Door practitioners consult with the senior child protection practitioner before making a report to Child Protection.

Workforce

The senior child protection practitioner is a delegate of the DHHS Secretary. They retain employment and practice connection through supervision and line management via the Child Protection team manager and area-based team (in DHHS).

Practitioners in The Orange Door and senior child protection practitioners work in partnership to implement effective engagement, intervention and strategies to provide services that are in the best interests of the child.

The following mechanisms are applied when working together:

  • joint visits, as part of a strategy to engage clients
  • case conferences and meetings to support assessment and planning and decision making
  • consultations to gather information, undertake risk assessment for children, recommend interventions, review practice and support decision making

Practice tools, frameworks and guidelines

The Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 is the overarching legislative framework that supports a shared commitment from all services working with children and families.

The Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 places children’s best interests at the heart of all decision making and service delivery. The ability of child and family services and those needed to consult with Child Protection is a key component of the legislation, which aims to:

  • ensure all information relevant to assessing risk is gathered and appropriate referrals are made to support the child and family
  • promote and support the partnership, interface and operation of Child Protection and family services and family violence services sectors

All services that partner to form The Orange Door are registered community child and family services under the CYFA.

The BICPM provides the foundation for case practice in family services and Child Protection. The model includes interconnected stages of professional practice that is child-focused and family-sensitive. It is designed to inform and support professional practice in community-based child and family services, child protection and placement and support.

The MARAM Framework also applies to Child Protection practitioners and the practice guides support their practice with children and families experiencing family violence.

Timing and duration

The senior child protection practitioner provides support during business hours. Outside of this, the Child Protection central after-hours service receive reports or information where it is believed that a child is in need of protection from significant harm.

Reviewed 19 January 2020

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