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Child Protection - Tough Choices Everyday

There’s no shortage of horror stories in the Australian media about the ‘child protection system getting it wrong’ and we’re not going to try to paint a picture to say that the child protection agencies around Australia are perfect. Far from it. It’s a system designed, run and maintained by humans. Humans are flawed. Therefore, the system must be flawed. What we will defend though – is that we believe that the overwhelming majority of frontline child protection workers are doing the job because they want to improve the lives of Australian children and their families. It is a core belief that children should be raised by families that love them and protect them. Sometimes though, the reality is that parents are not capable of looking after their children. In those situations, child protection workers make heartbreaking decisions.

ABC News recently published an Interactive Digital Story titled, ‘Would you remove these children from their families?’ The piece highlights that every day, frontline child protection workers are required to make decisions about other people which will have huge impacts on the lives of those people. Their decision is "should the leave a child in a potentially dangerous family situation, or place them in foster care?”

To highlight how tough these decisions are, the piece provides six case studies, based on real situations and asks you – the reader – would remove the child from the parent in the scenario? After the reader selects an answer, additional information is provided about what actually happened in the situation and if the child was removed. It also gives the reader an indication of how other reader’s responded by providing the percentage of readers’ that answered ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ Be warned, the case studies are based on real events, involving real children and families.

This interactive news piece provides a rare insight in to the thought process that frontline child protection workers go through every day. This insight is usually missing from media reports which almost immediately condemn the child protection agency for ‘getting it wrong…again.’

We’d encourage anyone that is even a little bit curious about the child protection system to click this link to go to the original article and provide their answers. If you find it hard to make these decisions - that's the point. As a general member of the community, it's not your job to make these decisions. It is your job though, to act protectively for the children you have contact with. Poynting Consulting & Advisory can help your organisation ensure you are doing this and are doing everything you can to help keep children safe.

Credit goes to the story authors: Catherine Hanrahan, Ben Spraggon and Colin Goulay and the ABC News Digital Storytelling team

Bradley Poynting