In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)

In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)
ACT Public Hospitals

Canberra Hospital

5124 0000


Calvary Hospital

6201 6111

Mental Health

Call Mental Health Triage on

1800 629 354

(free call except from mobiles or public phones) or

6205 1065

Poisons Hotline

For a poison emergency in Australia call

131126

Drug and Alcohol Help Line

The Drug and Alcohol Help Line is available 24-hours, 7 days a week on

5124 9977

Health Protection Service

For after hours urgent public health matters including environmental health, radiation safety, food poisoning and communicable disease management phone:

(02) 6205 1700

healthdirect

24 hour health advice

1800 022 222

ACT State Emergency Service

Emergency help
during flood or storms

132 500

About A Step Up for Our Kids


About A Step Up for Our Kids

Our plan for supporting families and keeping children safe.

What is A Step Up for Our Kids?

A Step Up for Our Kids Out of Home Care Strategy 2015-2020 guides the delivery of out of home care services within Child and Youth Protection Services (CYPS) and partner agencies. It began on 1 January 2015 and services rolled out across 2015 and 2016.

A Step Up for Our Kids creates a therapeutic, trauma-informed system of care and emphasises preventing children and young people from entering care, restoring them with their family and, where children and young people cannot go home safely, moving them into permanent, alternative family settings as quickly as possible.

The vision for A Step Up for Our Kids is:

Children and young people in care – growing up strong, safe and connected

The high-level strategic priorities are:

  • Trauma-informed care
  • Preservation – keeping families together
  • Restoration – reuniting families wherever   possible
  • Permanency – long-term solutions to keeping   children and young people strong, safe and connected

You can access the full Strategy at A Step Up for Our Kids – One Step Can Make a Lifetime of Difference.

The A Step Up for Our Kids Operational Framework provides a comprehensive understanding of the operation and governance arrangements required to deliver A Step Up for Our Kids.

If you have any questions about A Step Up for Our Kids, contact CBRStepsUp@act.gov.au.

Keeping family together

Measuring our outcomes

Snapshot Reporting

The Snapshot Report provides data on service demand and performance of the out of home care system since the implementation of A Step Up for Our Kids on 1 July 2016.

The operational data in the Snapshot Report is point in time data that provides an indication of the service demand and the capacity of the system to respond to this demand, in addition to throughput data.

The Snapshot Report currently has a total of 13 measures such as:

  • the number of children and young people entering and exiting care in that quarter;
  • a comparison of the number of children being case managed by ACT Together and Child and Youth Protection Services to monitor service capacity and indicating the number of children on short-term orders versus long-term orders;
  • the type of placements children or young people are in at that time and the number of children in each placement type;
  • the number of Enduring Parental Responsibility Orders and adoptions completed;
  • the number of newly approved carers and number of carers exiting; and
  • the number of children and young people supported through prevention programs not entering care within six and 12 months of support commencing.

It is important to note that the Snapshot Report uses operational data which may change between reporting periods due to continuous entry of data and improvements made to data over time. The most recent report should be used as the most updated data.

A Step Up for Our Kids - Snapshot Report [PDF 633KB]

If you have any queries about the report, please email CBRStepsUp@act.gov.au

Measuring our Outcomes

A Step Up for Our Kids is an important and transformational reform of the way our community, government and carers provide support to children and young people in out of home care. The ACT Government and the out of home care sector have invested a great deal in making this Strategy come to life, and it is essential that the outcomes of this work are monitored and measured.

An evaluation framework has been developed to measure outcomes over the five year period of this reform, from the time new services began to be implemented in January 2016. It is important to recognise that reforms of this scale take time to implement, evolve and mature before tangible outcomes are evident.

The evaluation framework will review progress towards outcomes at two points:

  • mid-way through the five year strategy, and
  • the fifth year of the strategy (post 2020)

A Step Up for Our Kids Baseline Report

The first stage of the evaluation of A Step Up for Our Kids was to develop a baseline from which to measure progress. KPMG was contracted to deliver a Baseline Report which documents the implementation of A Step Up for Our Kids as at June 2017. The Baseline Report was an important part of the evaluation process as it measures outcomes against each of the strategic domains.

Evaluation of A Step Up for Our Kids 2015-2020: Baseline Report [PDF]

Mid-Strategy Evaluation

The purpose of the Mid-Strategy Evaluation is to provide an overview of how the system is performing against the evaluation framework and the outcomes being delivered by services under the Strategy in the medium and long-term.

The Mid-Strategy Evaluation Report confirms that the ‘impact of individual reforms are still developing’ and provides an opportunity for all partners involved in the delivery of the Strategy to actively consider how implementation of the reforms can be strengthened.

The Post-Strategy Evaluation Report is planned for late 2020 and will provide a comprehensive view of how the Strategy is performing against the evaluation framework and the outcomes delivered by services under the Strategy in the medium and long-term.

A Step Up for Our Kids Mid-Strategy Evaluation Report [PDF 3.1MB]

Joint Statement

The Joint Governance Group (JGG) which has responsibility for overseeing the delivery of outcomes under A Step Up for Our Kids has issued a joint statement to support the release of the Mid-Strategy Evaluation Report.

What outcomes are being measured?

The evaluation framework will measure outcomes against each of the strategic domains of A Step Up for Our Kids. The framework will measure the following:

A therapeutic trauma-informed care system

Children and young people in care:

  • live and develop with their needs being met, and are indistinguishable from their peers when exiting care
  • experience progress in their psychological and social strengths
  • have their health needs met
  • grow up safe
  • participate in decisions that have an impact on their lives
  • are supported to develop their identity, safely and appropriately, through contact with their families, friends, culture, spiritual sources and have their life history recorded as they grow up
  • access and participate in education and are supported to engage in training and/or employment
  • have reduced involvement in the youth justice system.

Strengthening high risk families

  • high-risk families are strengthened so that children and young people are prevented from entering care
  • high-risk Aboriginal families are strengthened so that Aboriginal children and young people are prevented from entering care
  • children and young people in care are permanently reunited with their families
  • Aboriginal children and young people in care are permanently reunited with their families.

Creating a continuum of care

  • children and young people in care experience stability in their lives
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and families are supported to be strong and connected
  • there are a suitable number of carers to look after children and young people in care
  • children and young people in care are placed with their sibling group where it is appropriate and safe to do so
  • all children and young people are placed in permanent care as early as feasible when it is appropriate to do because they cannot live safely with their family.

Strengthening accountability and ensuring a high functioning care system

  • the statutory system is strong and accountable with well-defined roles and responsibilities.

These outcomes and the measures used to report on them are aligned with the National Out of Home Care Standards. These measures are reviewed by A Step Up for Our Kids Joint Governance Group and the Children and Youth Services Council who monitor the progress of the Strategy.

News and updates

Kids explain their rights in their own words… and find birds!

On 30 September 2019, children, carers and families headed to the National Arboretum to take part in a bird hunt! ….and to help us launch our redesigned Charter of rights for kids in care.

The rights have remained the same, however the look has been freshened up and we worked with the CREATE Foundation to learn what the rights actually mean to kids in care.

CREATE spoke to a number of young people to hear what they thought each right meant and how they should look in their daily life. Using their voices, we now have special factsheets for children, young people and adults to help let everyone know about the important rights of children and young people in care.Children's artwork

One young person told us:

‘The Charter is important because we are important, like all children and young people, and because we do not have our parents, we need you to help us in all these ways.’

The day of the launch was a beautiful day with kids of various ages having a blast looking for birds and simply having a great time. We even had Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith join in the fun.

For more information, go to Charter of rights for kids in care.

2019 Talking Practice

On 24 July 2019, staff from Child and Youth Protection Services, ACT Together, Uniting Children and Families ACT, CREATE, Australian Red Cross and Carers ACT came together to immerse themselves in best practice examples, explore challenges and solutions and hear about child protection trends and initiatives from across Australia.

The theme was ‘Stepping with Dignity: Empowering Children and Families Through Purposeful Partnerships’ offered an exciting opportunity to participate in some incredible presentations by:

  • Kate Alexander – Executive Director, Office of   the Senior Practitioner (OSP) for the NSW Department of Family and Community   Services
  • Dr Sue Packer AM – Paediatrician and 2019   Senior Australian of the Year
  • Angela Singh – Chief Executive Officer of   SNAICC – National Voice for our Children
  • Dr Joe Tucci – Chief Executive Officer of the   Australian Childhood Foundation

Thanks to everyone who participated and shared their experiences, knowledge and expertise.

2018 Youth Roundtable – What we learnt

Last November, Children, Youth and Families hosted a Youth Roundtable to hear directly from young people about their experiences of being in care and what they think would make a difference. The roundtable included young people currently in care or who have recently left care because they turned 18. It was facilitated by the Youth Coalition, CREATE and the Institute of Child Protection Studies.

The roundtable focused on the question, ‘What has been your experience of case planning?’ The main things young people told us, and want considered in future policy and practice development, were:Children's artwork

  • to have greater involvement and participation in decision-making
  • to understand why decisions were made
  • time to process and consider feedback and questions
  • to be provided with multiple opportunities to consider information
  • greater access to information
  • to be involved in policy development
  • more frequent and direct access with case managers
  • case managers to be powerful advocates
  • case managers to act with empathy and be trained in matters that impact young people, such as mental health
  • to be matched with their case manager and have continuity with them.

Children, Youth and Families are committed to act on what young people said. Several projects underway have already been influenced by the feedback heard, including:

  • The design of a new client management system – CSD is about to launch a new IT system that will help to prioritise involving children and young people in decision making.
  • Embedding therapeutic trauma-informed practice – CSD has developed a trauma-informed poster about the young people’s feedback from the roundtable and how it can be used in practice. This is a practical tool for case managers to understand the feedback from the Roundtable in a trauma-informed way.
  • Updating the Community Services Directorate   website – developing specific webpages for children and young people in care. Much of the feedback from the Roundtable has been incorporated into developing pages that help children and young people understand the care system and offer suggestions on how to participate in decisions that affect   their lives.
  • Refreshing the ACT’s Charter of rights for kids in care – CSD is currently refreshing the ACT’s Charter of rights and will consider how the feedback can be used to promote the rights of all   children and young people in care.
  • Influencing the new Carer Handbook to promote the importance of listening to children and young people.

You can learn more about what young people told us by reading the:

If you have any questions please email CBRStepsUp@act.gov.au

Stepping Up for Our Kids: Real Stories of Keeping Children and Young People Strong, Safe and Connected

The Community Services Directorate, ACT Together, Uniting Children and Families ACT, CREATE Foundation, Carers ACT and the Australian Red Cross Birth Family Advocacy Service are pleased to launch Stepping Up for Our Kids: Real Stories of Keeping Children and Young People Strong, Safe and Connected.

The publication tells the stories of real families who have had contact with the child protection system under A Step Up for Our Kids. It showcases how agencies are working collaboratively to support children, young people and their families using a trauma informed approach and illustrates how child protection practitioners work creatively to help families.

Read the full publication.

Foster and kinship carer survey

Thank you to everyone who was involved in the 2018 Carer Wellbeing Survey.Children's artwork

The survey summary gives carers and interested people a snapshot of some of the findings and the full report provides details of the survey design, findings and some analysis.

The Carer Wellbeing Sub-Committee are considering all the results from the survey to inform their work plan.  The Sub-Committee is a group of carers and ACT Together, Carers ACT and Children, Youth and Family representatives who come together to discuss issues impacting carers and how to improve wellbeing.

If the survey brought up any issues please get in contact the Carer Support Team, ACT Together on 02 6110 2200, the Carer Liaison Officer, Children, Youth and Families on 02 6207 5294 or the Carers ACT Foster and Kinship Carer Advocacy Service on 02 6296 9966.

View the survey summary or full report.