Keeping Children Safe Through Vital Information Sharing

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

Late last night, legislation passed the Victorian Parliament that will create the most streamlined information sharing system the state has ever seen, giving professional entities the tools they need to protect Victorian children.

Health, education and family service entities – such as Maternal and Child Health, hospitals and schools – will be allowed to request and share information to better respond to the needs of children, creating a more collaborative, integrated system.

Workers at these services will be trained to understand the circumstances under which details can be shared, with only prescribed professionals having access to the information.

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.

It was also a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

There will be penalties for unauthorised use or disclosure of information, and the reforms reviewed within two years of operation.

The move comes as the Labor Government continues implementing its $168 million Roadmap to Reform to shift the focus of child and family services from crisis response to prevention and early intervention.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos

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

“We’re setting a benchmark for ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of children by giving professionals the tools they need to keep kids safe before it’s too late.”

Quotes attributable to Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings

“This important reform improves the legal framework for information exchange within a ‘select circle’ of authorised organisations so we can deliver better outcomes for vulnerable Victorian children.”

“This will help frontline staff better protect and support vulnerable children at risk of harm.”