Multi-Agency Community and Child Safety Framework
Every child, family and community should experience the benefits of collaborative service delivery on a day-to-day basis. Some children and families will have safety needs above and beyond those of others in their community. This is when the Multi-Agency Community and Child Safety Framework (MACCSF) can effect timely and shared identification of safety concerns, response planning, and action to create meaningful change for children, their families, and communities in the Northern Territory.
The MACCSF was introduced in May 2020 as part of key Northern Territory Government (NTG) agencies’ commitment to strengthen the governance and accountability of the collaborative work undertaken within and across communities with a twofold purpose:
- improving child safety outcomes for vulnerable children, families and communities by improving, and ensuring consistency in the collaboration, commitment, coordination and information sharing across community members, government and non-government organisations
- improving the efficient and effective use of resources for communities.
Local Decision Making
The MACCSF is a demonstration of the NTG’s commitment to local decision making and is aligned to the intended outcomes of the Remote Engagement and Coordination Strategy . This includes:
- that NTG agencies are transparent, accountable and consistent in remote engagement
- the coordination and collaboration of practice within the NTG, communities and across regions
- the responses, recording and tracking of decision making in relation to ideas and local issues raised.
MACCSF brings together community members with cultural authority, locally based heads of government agencies, and non-government organisations through MACCS Teams (MACCSTs) to identify issues, create action plans for child, family and community safety, and carry out actions together. MACCST Members are responsible for collaboratively addressing issues such as youth crime, education, health, or child safety.
MACCSTs are governed by the MACCSF Management Group comprised of key decision makers who are responsible for providing strategic oversight, outcomes focussed planning and actions, and reporting to the Commonwealth Government and the Children and Families Standing Committee.
The MACCSF draws on other successful multi-agency models used nationally and internationally and the learnings of reviews of those models. For example, models being built on common principles of information sharing, joint decision making, and coordinated intervention. A learning review of a multi-agency model used in the UK found that agencies responsible for child protection, policing, health, education, probation, housing and youth offending should be involved in multi-agency groups. In the Northern Territory, the essential role that communities, represented by those with cultural authority, hold in identifying risks and solutions has been factored in to the MACCSF.
A barrier to the effectiveness of multi-agency groups has been misunderstandings between professionals regarding what information can be shared. This issue has been addressed by the development of Information Sharing Protocols to better equip MACCST members to understand information sharing principles and legislative requirements to share information in the interests of the safety and wellbeing of children.
In December 2020, the Coroner of the Northern Territory, His Honour Greg Cavanagh, handed down his findings into the deaths of six young people and recommended “that the Multi-Agency Community and Child Safety Framework be legislated so as to ensure mandatory cooperation, coordination and information sharing in a timely manner”.
Drafting this legislation has commenced and is expected to be in place by mid-2021.
For more information contact MACCSFramework@nt.gov.au or call 1800 MACCSF.
Last updated: 04 June 2021
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