Promoting child wellbeing and safety
The Victorian government is progressing three interrelated reforms that are integral to reducing family violence and promoting child wellbeing or safety. Community Housing Organisations have an important role to play in implementing the reforms and keeping Victorians safe.
There are three interrelated reforms in Victoria – the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment and Management Framework (MARAM), the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme (FVISS) and the Child Information Sharing Scheme (CISS).
The information sharing schemes were introduced in Victoria following enquiries and Royal Commissions, including the 2015 Royal Commission into Family Violence. They enable prescribed information sharing entities (ISE) to promote child wellbeing and safety and to identify and manage family violence risk.
To support community housing organisations to understand and implement these reforms, CHIA Vic, in partnership with the Department of Education, have developed a comprehensive CISS toolkit. The toolkit’s tailored information and resources, used in conjunction with MARAM, FVISS and CISS training, are designed to strengthen community housing organisations’ capacity to identify and appropriately respond when there is a need to share information relating to a child and to develop their practice as part of a coordinated multi-agency response to child information sharing.
What is CISS?
The CISS allows workers in authorised organisations, called an Information Sharing Entity (ISE) to share information with other ISEs to support child safety or wellbeing. Community Housing Organisations are considered an ISE.
Prior to the CISS being introduced, workers were limited by privacy laws about what they could say to other organisations, even if they were worried about the child’s wellbeing or safety.
Maintaining a person’s privacy is important, but at times these barriers prevented organisations working together and more importantly, sometimes prevented workers from sharing information that may have helped improve children’s wellbeing and keep children safe.
Under the CISS, if workers have concerns about a child’s wellbeing or safety, they are legally able to share their concerns plus the name of the alleged perpetrator with another ISE, without breaching the Privacy Act.
More importantly CISS helps professionals working with children gain a complete view of the children they work with, making it easier to identify wellbeing or safety needs earlier, and to act on them sooner.
What is in the CISS Toolkit?
The CISS Toolkit includes:
- Overview of the Child Information Sharing Scheme.
- Overview of the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme.
- Overview of MARAM.
- Tools to assist CHOs in recognising when information should be shared and how to share.
- Case study examples.
- Consent and privacy templates.
- Further resources, training, contacts, and referral information