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The Division of Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services has three main areas of service delivery that seek to improve the health and well-being of children, young people and families in Tasmania.
CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES
Child and Family Services operates in accordance with the provisions of the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1997. The focus of the legislation is on the provision of support and assistance to families in the care and protection of their children. The aim of this approach is to prevent, where possible, the placement of children in out of home care under legal care and protection orders, through the provision of timely and appropriate support to families.
Child Protection Advice and Referral Service
The Child Protection Advice and Referral Service receives notifications of concerns about the care and protection of children and conducts an initial assessment of the risk of harm to the child. Where there is reason to believe a child is at risk of abuse or neglect, the matter is referred to Assessment Services for further investigation of the concerns.
Assessment of the circumstances of children are conducted where there are reasonable grounds to believe or suspect that a child is at risk of abuse or neglect. This may include interviews of the child, parents, teachers and other people who have contact with the child. Applications for care and protection orders are sought when necessary.
Family group conferences can be convened as part of the assessment process. They provide an opportunity for the family and other persons to make recommendations about ways to secure the care and protection of the child in the future. There were 58 family group conferences in 2002-03.
Case Management Services
Care management services are provided to children and young people for whom the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services has responsibility under the Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1997. Case management services include the coordination and provision of services needed by the child and include health care, counselling, education and support services. The preservation and strengthening of family relationships and ethnic, religious or cultural identity of the child is also an important part of case management services. On 30 June 2003, there were 275 children under guardianship orders to the age of eighteen years.
Out Of Home Care and Adoption Services
Out of home care services are provided for children who are unable to live with their families. These services include the provision of placements for children and the recruitment, training and support of carers. The Adoption Information Service identify families for children who are placed for adoption and provide counselling and assistance to adopted persons, birth families, adoptive parents and natural relatives who want to obtain and exchange information about each other.
As at 30 June 2003, there were 468 children in out of home care services. This included 257 children in foster care or home based care and 102 in family group homes or approved children’s homes. A further 71 children on care and protection orders were placed with relatives and 38 lived independently or in some other care arrangement.
Domestic Violence Crisis Service
The Domestic Violence Crisis Service provides crisis assistance to people affected by domestic violence including emergency accommodation, court support, counselling, information, referrals to other services and practical assistance. In 2002-03, the Domestic Violence Crisis Service had 1,227 new clients. Further information about the Domestic Violence Crisis Service is available on the Department of Health and Human Services web site, http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/domesticviolence/
YOUTH JUSTICE SERVICES
The Crime and Justice section of Statistics-Tasmania contains information about Youth Justice Services in Tasmania.
FAMILY, CHILD AND YOUTH HEALTH SERVICES
Family, Child and Youth Health Services provides a range of services to improve the health and well-being of children, young people and families. They include information, screening, and early intervention services that are provided by child health centres, parenting centres, child development units, and youth health services. In 2002-03, Family, Child and Youth Health Services provided 123,131 occasions of service in child health centres. Further information about Family, Child and Youth Health Services is available on the Department of Health and Human Services web site, http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/familychildandyouthhealth/index.html
The Gambling Support Bureau is located within the policy area of the Division of Children and Families, and provides a range of services to people at risk of, or affected by problem gambling. These services include research, community education, health promotion, and the administration of the charitable grants program. The Gambling Support Bureau works collaboratively across Government and with the Gaming Commission to administer the Community Support Levy. Further information about the Gambling Support Bureau is available on the Department of Health and Human Services web site, http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/gambling/index.html
The Our Kids Bureau is also located in the policy area of the Division of Children and Families. The Our Kids Bureau works with other Government departments and the community to improve the outcomes for Tasmanian children by identifying and initiating best practice services for children and their families based on the most contemporary research available. Further information about Our Kids is available on the Department of Health and Human Services web site, http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/ourkids
Services for parents and families are also provided within the Community Partners program. More information about this program is available from the following link, Community Partners