Friday, 27 November 2015 12:06
Together with the University of Melbourne, we recently prepared a Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) setting out the safety, permanency and wellbeing outcomes that should be attended to for children and young people in out-of-home care (OOHC).
The QAF was commissioned by the New South Wales (NSW) Government Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) as part of its suite of Safe Home for Life reforms designed to strengthen the child protection system.
The NSW Government recently made the QAF available for public consultation.
The QAF was developed to help agencies as they move towards regularly using reliable data to help them improve services offered to children and get a more accurate picture of how children and young people are faring.
Parenting Research Centre Director, Ms Annette Michaux, said the development of the QAF drew on a blend of research, practice and sector sources, and was adapted from a child wellbeing framework introduced in the US as part of a major federal reform of child welfare:
We conducted interviews with key stakeholders including the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian, NSW Ombudsman, FACS, peak organisations and NGO services. We also conducted a narrative review of the national and international literature on existing quality assurance frameworks in child welfare systems. And we drew on our project teams’ extensive content expertise and knowledge of the NSW child welfare system, including policies, procedures and reform efforts.
A literature review emphasised the dynamic and continuous process of quality improvement. And the consultations emphasised the need to complement, not duplicate, existing work, particularly in relation to the NSW OOHC accreditation standards and data collection systems.
“Agencies are certainly familiar with data collection and monitoring of the safety and permanency of children in their care, but processes for systematically monitoring the wellbeing of children are less common and will be a new area for most providers,” Ms Michaux said.
“Stakeholders expressed strong support for the development of a QAF and they gave us great insights into some of the opportunities and challenges of developing and implementing a QAF.”
Contact us if you would like to view the report.