Sharing Vital Information To Keep Kids Safe

The Andrews Labor Government is helping ensure no child falls between the cracks by allowing health, education and family services to share vital details of those in their care.

Legislation introduced to the Victorian Parliament today will create the most streamlined information sharing system Victoria has ever seen, giving professionals the tools they need to keep children safe.

The Children Legislation Amendment (Information Sharing) Bill 2017 seeks to protect vulnerable children by simplifying and improving information sharing arrangements between trusted professional entities, such as Maternal and Child Health, hospitals and schools.

They will be allowed to request and share information with each other to respond to the needs of children and create a more collaborative, integrated service that can intervene early to prevent tragedy.

Workers at these services will be trained to understand the circumstances when it is appropriate to share information, with penalties for any unauthorised use or disclosure of information. The reforms will be reviewed within two years.

Tragic cases concerning the death of children and infants in recent years, as well as recommendations by the Coroners Court of Victoria, the Commission for Children and Young People amongst other inquiries, have all highlighted the need for an improved information sharing regime.

The new measures will support the establishment of 17 Safety and Support Hubs that the Labor Government is rolling out as part of its landmark family violence prevention reform.

To further inform the Victorian roll-out, Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos last week visited a Multi-Agency Support Hub in London, which brings together social work, education and health workers along with police and child protection units.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos

“These reforms will save vulnerable children’s lives – it’s as simple as that.”

“We’re giving professionals the information they need to keep children safe before it’s too late. These are important reforms that set a benchmark for ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of children.”

Quotes attributable to Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings

“Improving the legal framework for information exchange within a ‘select circle’ of authorised organisations is fundamental to delivering better outcomes for vulnerable Victorian children.”

“These reforms will enable frontline staff to better protect and support vulnerable children at risk of harm.”