ChildStory still placing children at risk
Nearly one year on, ChildStory is still not fixed. Children continue to be at risk and the health and wellbeing of child protection staff has been damaged.
In our latest survey, more than 600 members told us ChildStory remains unfit for purpose and poses significant obstacles to staff doing their work efficiently and within the required timeframes. Alarmingly, some seven months after going live, you have reported virtually no improvement.
You have told us ChildStory continues to affect your ability to do your work and has left many of you exposed to undue criticism from supervisors. Even though FACS has advised no-one should get into trouble as result of the failures of ChildStory, we know many of your supervisors are demanding tasks be completed within timeframes that can only be met if the system works. But all too frequently the system isn’t working and this is causing many of you a lot of stress and anxiety which is impacting negatively on members’ physical and mental health.
We have seen FACS’s approach to the myriad problems associated with ChildStory change over time. Initially, FACS denied there was a problem, then it blamed you (user error, lack of confidence), and when we started to make the Government and the community aware of the extent of the problems, by helping you take action through more than 20 walkouts and related media reports, it was forced to admit its failures and apologise.
FACS didn’t do this willingly, we forced it to do this. However, with new faces in the ChildStory team it now seems they are moving back to blaming you for “not knowing how to use the system” or for “not knowing where to look for the information”.
This is completely unacceptable when the onsite support you receive is minimal and the training has been inadequate. So far, FACS’s approach to providing extra support has been to take staff away from their normal duties and second them to ChildStory duties. However, these positions have not been backfilled and this has heavily impacted on workloads at the CSC level. It is the “rob Peter to pay Paul approach”, which is unfair and unsustainable.
The PSA met with Pru Goward, Minister for Family and Community Services, on 28 August 2018 and provided her with a copy of the survey results. She expressed her dissatisfaction that ChildStory was holding caseworkers back from seeing children and families, given the additional time it clearly takes them to complete their work.
The Minister has made a number of commitments, which if FACS follows through we are hopeful will result in some improvements. Unfortunately, this will take time.
What did you say? And how does it compare to the first survey?
More than 600 members completed our second survey. The key findings included:
|Survey question||Answer||1st survey (February)||2nd survey (June)|
|Do you think ChildStory is user friendly/intuitive?||No||94.63%||94.36%|
|Does using ChildStory result in you spending more time at your computer?||Significantly more time (5 hours+)||77.06%||71.57%|
|Has ChildStory had a negative impact on your physical and/or mental health?||Yes||76.54%||79.67%|
|How would you rate Childstory as a replacement for KIDS?||Critically impacted my ability to do my work||82%||88.93%|
|Has Childstory resulted in child/ren being placed at risk?||Yes||89.25%||89.95%|
|Do you think you have enough on site support?||No||96.58%||92.21%|
|Do you believe that you could do your work on ChildStory without having access to KIDS?||No||96.41%||90.67%|
Your responses very clearly highlight the current problems with ChildStory and what needs to happen to improve this flawed system.
|Design – not intuitive||Additional funding is required to be user-friendly and intuitive|
|Training||Local ChildStory Coaches available at every large workplace with district based support teams available for immediate support|
|Easy access to all records and chronological view||KIDS read only access to be maintained for all staff pending redesign|
|Additional work time required in using ChildStory||PSA Workload Planner interim amendment, additional 5 hours/week|
|Data migration||All migrated records and attachments must be easily located|
Members can be assured the PSA will be relentless in seeking resolutions to these significant issues that continue to impact on members and will keep you updated on any new developments.