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Charge up the GPS.

by PeakCare Qld on 27th March 2013

Home -> Articles -> 2013 -> March -> Charge up the GPS.

I love my GPS! What a fantastic invention! It works out the route that I am to travel, tells me where and when to turn, tells me how long it will take to get there, even warns me when I may be breaking the rules and driving a tad too fast – too easy. But sometimes I hate my GPS – when it says that the newly constructed road I am on does not yet exist, when its instructions are confusing and especially when it won’t recognise the address of my destination. And the most frustrating thing of all is when the battery runs flat! Let’s just say that I have a love-hate relationship with my GPS! I love it when it’s doing its job well, hate it when I can’t give it a clear and accurate instruction about where I want to end up and I haven’t played my part in keeping its maps up-to-date.

Recently, PeakCare lodged our latest submissionto the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry in response to the Commission’s February 2013 Discussion Paper. Commissioner Carmody must be strongly commended for the open and collaborative manner in which he has made use of discussion and issues papers to flag the matters receiving the Commission’s attention and seek feedback about the options being considered, the solutions that have been proposed and the future directions being contemplated. The onerous responsibility that has been assigned to the Commissioner is to recommend a roadmap for child protection in this State over the next decade. Think of it, if you will, as the map that will be used to program the ‘Global Positioning Systems’ of the State Government, government departments, non-government organisations and hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals working in child protection and related fields for many, many years to come!

Thinking of the road map in this way makes the feedback received from PeakCare’s member agencies and supporters in response to the Inquiry’s Discussion Paper very significant. In particular, comments made by those who attended PeakCare’s roundtable meeting on the 11th March strongly presented a view that the Inquiry’s discussion paper had not, as yet, sufficiently proposed a ‘vision’ for child protection – in other words, the overall ‘destination’ of the road map has not yet been described in sufficient detail to enter into anyone’s GPS.

Reflecting this feedback, the introduction to PeakCare’s latest submission to the Inquiry states:

A road map should ... be clear about the starting point, destination/s, alternate routes, costs and travel time. Queensland’s road map for the child protection system must clearly articulate an agreed vision, strategies to achieve the vision and the rationale for particular options or approaches. It must propose new pathways through the system and spell out the roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders. Timeframes must be included. The road map should be underscored by a commitment to research and drawing on evidence based interventions, programs and services, balanced with a healthy dose of innovation and creativity.

And bearing in mind just how frustrating it is when the battery of a GPS runs flat, PeakCare’s introductory comments noted:

Service delivery should be supported by realistic and transparent costings. The road map should surely recognise that Queensland’s fiscal situation will improve and there will be new funds available over the next 10 years. Changing the system will not happen just through efficiency measures, such as reduced red tape or administration.

As the Inquiry enters its final stages, it will be important for the Commission to focus on spelling out the overall vision for Queensland’s child and family welfare system, of which child protection is a component, and where the system should be in two years, five years, 10 years and 50 years. It’s what we will need to be clear about our destination, the route that we will be travelling on, where and when we are to turn and how long it will take to get there. It is also important that the Commission recommend the means for monitoring the journey and the progress achieved in case a wrong turn is taken and the route needs to be modified.

On behalf of PeakCare, thank you to our members and supporters who contributed their valued opinions, wisdom and experiences to the shaping of our responses to the questions and issues addressed within the Inquiry’s discussion paper. Your attendance and support of the various roundtable forums, teleconferences and the Meet the Preventers Child Protection Expos along with the written and verbal feedback you have provided in response to PeakCare’s own discussion papers have greatly assisted us in collecting and reflecting your opinions and views.

PeakCare would, of course, be pleased to receive further feedback from you about any or all of the matters we have addressed within our submission. You can do so by emailing lwegener@peakcare.org.au or by entering comments to this post.

To view PeakCare’s latest submission or any of the other discussion papers or submissions that we have forwarded to the Inquiry, please visit PeakCare’s website.

Lindsay Wegener, Executive Director, PeakCare Qld