The Child and Young Person’s Visiting Program arose from the 2016 SA Child Protection Systems
Royal Commission. In her report (‘the Nyland Report,’), Commissioner Margaret Nyland endorsed
the establishment of a visiting scheme specifically for children living in residential care facilities.
As a result of the SA government’s response to the Nyland Report, ‘A Fresh Start,’ in 2017 the
Department for Child Protection (DCP) asked the Guardian for Children and Young People to undertake a ‘two-year pilot visiting scheme for 100 children and young people in residential and commercial care facilities, to be finalised in June 2019’. The finalisation date for the scheme was subsequently extended to 30 September 2019.
Visiting commenced in September 2018 and finished in August 2019.
To date, the trial has given rise to a series of clear outcomes and benefits to individual children and young people, relating to physical and emotional safety, health and wellbeing, cultural identity, connection with family, access to education, participation in decision-making and the circumstances of their life, decisions about placement and personal development and interests.
On a facility level there have been positive outcomes through improvements to physical and social environments, and the support, training, performance management and wellbeing of staff. Broader systemic issues including placement decision-making, access to educational opportunities, and the availability of vehicles have been raised with the Department for Child Protection.
The trial was evaluated by Dr Kate Seymour, Professor Sarah Wendt and Associate Professor Lorna Hallahan of SWIRLS (Social Work Innovation Research Living Space) at Flinders University.
The report represents the culmination of just over two years work by the Office of the Guardian in developing, implementing and reviewing a trial scheme to visit 100 children living in residential care in South Australia.
The final report on the Trial Child and Young Person’s Visiting Program can be viewed here