Safeguarding vulnerable Queensland children in care 

Working across departments to reduce the time taken to initiate a multi-agency response when children in care are reported missing.

In July 2016, the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC) released a report detailing the findings of its review into the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Tiahleigh Palmer.

A recommendation of the report focused on the establishment of a missing child pilot governance model, known as ‘Our Child’.

GWI was engaged by the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (now the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women) — responsible for the protection of vulnerable children and young people — to develop and establish the information sharing component of this model.

A complex environment

The multi-agency nature of the task required a collaborative approach.

GWI consulted widely, engaging agencies pivotal to the process to pinpoint challenges and pain points for when a child is reported missing from out-of-home care. Our consultation identified areas for improvement in People, Process, Technology and Information, and in the interpretation and application of relevant legislation.

The solution — a viable information exchange — required the business case and architecture to ensure its successful adoption.

A shared process

The sharing of information between governments and agencies was critical to the success of Our Child, and required an innate understanding and appreciation of the sensitivities around implementing a multi-agency information exchange solution.

To establish the foundations for the Our Child model, GWI developed information exchange schedules and a Master Sharing Agreement. A Privacy Impact Assessment informed a privacy-by-design approach for the system, identifying additional requirements, such as auditing capabilities as crucial to the system’s acceptance.

It was also critical to complete a Legislative Mapping exercise to demonstrate there was no regulatory basis to prevent the exchange of information using the Our Child solution.

The timely exchange of data

Leading up to the release of Our Child in October 2017, GWI provided program assurance to inspire confidence that Our Child would meet the designed scope, timeframes and quality measures.

The result is an automated, data sharing platform between government and agencies that supports the timely exchange of data to enable the government to reduce elapsed time in mobilising a multi-agency response when a child in care is reported missing.

In short, through the real — or near-to-real — time sharing of vital data and information, GWI has contributed to the wellbeing and safety of children and young people in out-of-home care.

GWI’s work with the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women, cementing our role in the use data and information to get to the heart of what matters.

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