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Caseworker numbers reflect frontline caseworkers and caseworker specialists across the community services spectrum, including those working in statutory child protection and out-of-home care. The figures do not include management staff associated with caseworkers and specialist disability caseworkers.
Caseworkers provide protection and support services by:
- assessing and investigating reports of risk of harm to children and young people
- providing assistance to vulnerable families via prevention and intervention services
- supporting and monitoring children and young people in out-of-home care
- managing crisis situations
- promoting the safe and adequate care and protection of children and young people through appropriate interventions as legislated through the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1988 and departmental policy and procedures.
Casework specialists provide direct, practice-based professional support and development to casework managers and caseworkers. This includes:
- providing specialist advice on case practice matters
- working with caseworkers and managers to develop case practice skills
- undertaking practice and complex case reviews to develop the overall caseworker skill base
- providing expert assistance in aspects of case management in complex or sensitive cases
- acting as a conduit between FACS, community partners and other agencies in respect to current practice, professional support, service development and policy.
This is the number of full-time equivalent caseworkers funded in the FACS Budget.
Actual FTE refers to the number of full-time equivalent caseworkers working in a given reference period, excluding those on extended or parental leave or occupying positions funded by specific time-limited funding.
The number of vacancies represents the difference between the funded FTE and actual FTE during the reference period. The vacancy rates presented on the dashboard may differ from rates published by other sources due to the use of different methodologies.
Children and young people at risk of significant harm
Children and young people
This is a unique count of children and young people. Where a child or young person receives multiple reports (or multiple face-to-face assessments) during the reference period, they are counted only once.
Risk of Significant Harm (ROSH)
Risk of significant harm status refers to the outcome of the screening at the Child Protection Helpline.
A child or young person is assessed at ROSH if the circumstances that are causing concern for the safety, welfare or wellbeing of the child or young person are present to a significant extent. This means it is sufficiently serious to warrant a response by a statutory authority, irrespective of a family’s consent.
From 24 January 2010, reports to the Child Protection Helpline must meet the threshold of ROSH. Where concerns of harm do not meet the significant harm threshold, the referring agency should offer and coordinate assistance or make a referral to other services, using normal referral networks.
Children and young people assessed
This is a count of unique children and young people who have received a completed face-to-face assessment.
A face-to-face or secondary assessment follows an initial assessment where it has been determined that a child or young person is believed to be at risk of harm and may be in need of care and protection. Secondary assessment is usually conducted by the local Community Services Centre or the Joint Investigation Response Team. The secondary assessment employs the Secondary Assessment Framework.
There are three distinct tools — safety assessment, risk assessment and risk reassessment — used by caseworkers:
- the safety assessment tool is used to determine whether there are any immediate dangers of significant harm to a child or young person and what interventions should be put in place to provide immediate protection
- the risk assessment is used to classify families into low, moderate, high and very high risk groups to determine the likelihood of future abuse or neglect to a child or young person. This information is used to guide decisions about whether cases should be opened for ongoing services or not
- the risk reassessment tool is used periodically to assess any changes to the family’s risk level in order to guide decisions about whether the case can be closed or if services should continue.
FACS works across NSW through 15 districts to enable more localised planning and decision making, and improved links between service delivery management and frontline staff. FACS districts align with NSW Local Health Districts.
A child or young person may receive services from multiple districts. Data reflects the district where the child’s case plan is held at their first ROSH report of highest level of child protection assessment in the period.
Services that are provided statewide include:
- FACS Helpline, which includes the Domestic Violence Line
- Joint Investigation Response Teams (JIRT) – these teams respond to serious child protection reports of children and young people which may involve a criminal offence. JIRT comprises three equal partners — NSW Police, NSW Health and FACS — and operates throughout NSW. Only FACS caseworkers are reflected in the dashboard
- other – this includes FACS caseworkers working in Intensive Family Based Services, Metro Intensive Support Specialists, Adoption and Permanent Care Services Branch, Records Access Branch, Integrated Domestic and Family Violence Program, Brighter Futures Assessment Unit, Interstate Liaison, and Adoptions and Information Exchange.
Totals for fields ‘Children at ROSH’, ‘Children assessed face-to-face’ (count and %), and ‘children responded to’ incorporates children who received assessments/responses from Statewide services. This data is not reported in the district breakdown.
Figures presented in the dashboard are rounded and this may result in discrepancies between the sums of component items and their totals.
FTE or full-time equivalent is defined as the equivalent of one position, filled continuously, full-time for the reference period. Total FTE combines all full-time and part-time positions so that a caseworker who works full-time counts as 1 FTE, a person who works half-time is 0.5 FTE and so on. Actual FTE is an averaged FTE across the reference period (i.e. quarter or financial year).