Child Protection and Youth Justice Client Records since 1986 

Introduction

This guide discusses the major computerised filing and data management systems used to organise the information on children and young people under child protection and youth justice provisions – from 1986 to the current Client Relationship Information System (CRIS). The information is presented in a timeline of when each system was introduced.

Before 1986, child protection and youth justice client information was managed through a range of card indexes, files and registers. The central department case files for each child, youth and adult in institutional care reflect the person’s initial assessment, admission and movement within the government custodial care system. The files do not generally contain information on people’s day-to-day circumstances. 

The specific institutions’ collection guides include client records that officially document each person’s experience within that institution. They capture the person’s case history, their participation in the institution’s programs and activities, and their progression through the residential sections to their eventual release into the care of their family, or their transfer to another centre. 

For information relating to the individual institutions, please search by the institution’s name, for example Nunawading Youth Residential Centre (1991–93). 

Warning about distressing information

These guides contains information that some people may find distressing. Guides may also contain references to previous views, policies and practices that are regrettable and do not reflect the current views, policies or practices of the department or the State of Victoria.  If you find this content distressing, please consult with a support person either from the Department of Health and Human Services or another agency.

Timeline

1985 A review into child protection was conducted in Victoria. In 1985, the state assumed control of statutory child protection services from the Children’s Protection Society.
1986

SCIS (Statutory Client Information System) was implemented to manage Child Protection client file categories:

  • WAR: Wards of state (court order)
  • PRT: Protective intervention (non-court order – file not generated in all cases)
  • SPO: Supervision order (court order)
  • Juvenile Justice clients
  • SPA: Supervised Adjournments (court order)
  • PAR: Parole (Youth Parole Board)
  • PSR: Pre-sentence Report (court requested report)

Please note: There are gaps within the former Youth Training Centre trainee files and the later SCIS client files. In some instances, older youths in these centres (18–21 years) were transferred to an adult prison, while their client files were transferred to the Office of Corrections (Department of Justice).
SCIS was also used to manage Refugee Minors and Youth Parole Board, and SCIS was also used as a reference by Finance for client (ward) payments.

1987-88

Community Services of Victoria Annual Report highlights this period as one of significant organisational change, during which the department focussed on improving clients’ access to services and increasing the use of technology to manage records.

Stated objectives included: Redevelopment of the Office of Intellectual Disability Services Client Information System (OIDS–SCIS) and Statutory Client Information System (SCIS).

1988 The Information Technology Strategy Plan was finalised. This had important implications for the development of electronic record-keeping for departmental client records.
1988 Creation of the Children At Risk Register (CARR): reports of suspected child abuse from child protection workers and police were entered onto this register.
1990

The core systems project was a key initiative from the Information Technology Strategy plan. Its main objective was to develop a unified computerised system combining both Client Information and Service Information.

Expected benefits included: improved accountability to clients; easier and timelier access to critical information and services; reduction in repetitive administration tasks; and more consistent service delivery.

Ownership of the system was shared by 19 departmental areas, eight with a Client Management component, and the remaining 11 accessing only the Service Information.

The plan for delivery by August 1993 included rolling out electronic client case management systems, starting with Protective Services, followed by Adoption and Permanent Care, Intellectual Disability Services (IDS), Early Intervention, Young Offenders, Adoption Information Service (AIS) Inter Country Adoption Service (ICAS) and finally Refugee Minors.

Development of this system included an analysis of existing information systems and key legislation: the Children and Young Person’s Act 1989, the Adoptions Act 1984, Freedom of Information Act 1983 and the Public Records Act 1973.

1992

Client And Service Information System (CASIS) was the first core system released. CASIS was piloted and fully implemented over approximately 12 months to eliminate paper files, except those created to handle non-case notes material.

Information on clients aged 17 years and younger was taken from SCIS and CARR (Children at Risk Register) and used to complete the CASIS data base. The information was used to manage child abuse reports from workers and police. Information on clients over 17 remained on the SCIS system.

CASIS divided client files into two main parts: client details, and the Protective Client Profile. It included electronic case notes and reports. The paper file was used to store incoming documents, or other non-case note information.

Client information recorded included: Aboriginal and Ethnicity, Alias, Alerts, Health and Disability, Associated People, Education and Training, Employment and Group Details (usually family groups).

The Protective Client Profile enabled recording of four main intake types: Notification, Conciliation Counselling, Disposition Report and Interstate Transfer.

Notification (the most common intake type) was divided into five phases: Intake, Initial Investigation, Protective Intervention, Protective Order and Closure.

A paper file was kept for hardcopy documents such as letters (not scanned into the system at the time).CASIS implementation was staggered across the state and completed in 1994.

1994 Mandatory Reporting was legislated, increasing the demand for efficient management of paper Child Protection records.
1994

Introduction of RecFind as the system used to record the location of all Department of Health and Community Services paper registry files. Key client-related information – name, date of birth, location – was captured in the client file.
CASIS was linked to RecFind to enable the Client Records section to track files. Key summary information (metadata) that was transferred from CASIS to RecFind, included:

  • Surname
  • Christian Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Alias
  • SCIS Number

Only cases that had gone to investigation were transferred to RecFind. ‘No Further Action’ cases (NFAs) were not transferred.

1994

The Juvenile Justice Client and Case Management System (JJCIS) was implemented to record information about young people and key events occurring while they were clients of Juvenile Justice. Client Records no longer had to register Juvenile Justice orders.

The information provided management with workload data and statistics, and demographics of the Juvenile Justice population. Stage one of JJCIS included: Client names, alias’s, family and relationships, and key client events, including court appearances and outcomes, court orders (both custodial and non-custodial) and offences for which the client was sentenced.

Also included were details of the regions, workers responsible for supervising clients on parole, non-custodial orders, and details of the young person’s stay in Juvenile Justice institutions whilst on custodial orders.

Subsequent stages of JJCIS were planned to include written reports and documents, but the system was replaced before this eventuated.

Developers had not approached the department’s records and archival staff about paper files management. It was decided not to accept any JJCIS records until a link (interface) with RecFind could be successfully implemented.

1994

The JJCIS system interface with RecFind is created. Key summary client information (metadata) transferred from CASIS to RecFind included:

  • Surname
  • First Name
  • Date of Birth- DOB
  • Alias
  • SCIS Number

Every new case transferred to RecFind was allocated 'FILE NOT YET ASSIGNED’. Each file had to contain a copy of the printed court order, so all files were in paper form.

Late 90's

The Juvenile Justice Institutional (custodial) files for current clients (JJ files) were transferred to the department’s archives for storage and management. The juvenile justice facilities at the time were:

  • Malmsbury Juvenile Justice Centre
  • Melbourne Juvenile Justice Centre
  • Parkville Youth Residential Centre

The rules relating the “JJ” files included that files were not to be sent out for FOI, Subpoena or other legal proceedings. Inactive files relating to clients in (former) Youth Training Centres were also not sent to current juvenile justice facilities. This created a separation between the Youth Training Centre files and the updated JJCIS files.

Late 90's Court Advisory Unit (CAU) and Secure Welfare Services files were recorded In the notes fields of the RecFind client interfaces (database).
Late 2000 to early 2001 Transition from RecFind to TRIM: the corporate electronic document and records management system adopted for managing electronic data and hard copy records.
Late 2000 First TRIM download from the RecFind/CASIS interface. References to CASIS numbers that have never been tracked, default to CASIS Registry and may indicate that no paper file exists.
December 2000 First download of client information to TRIM from RecFind/JJCIS.
February 2001 Second TRIM download from RecFind. References to CASIS numbers that have never been tracked, default to CASIS Registry and may indicate that no paper file exists.
September 2002 Approval of the Client Service Model Strategic Project (CSMP) – to develop a holistic and integrated client service model supported by the department’s systems. This project restored the focus on similarities between service delivery models delivered by the departments six child-focused services: Child Protection, Juvenile Justice, Disability Services, Specialist Children’s Services, Housing and School Nursing services.
2007

Implementation of: Client Relationship Information System (CRIS) and Client Relationship Information System for Service Providers (CRISSP).

The Client Relationship Information System (CRIS) replaced CASIS as the primary electronic file system used to document client support information. All people who are eligible for services and request support must have a CRIS file created. CRIS is not always used by residential services and the Accommodation Services File (ASF) remains the formal corporate record for residential services.

CRIS stores information about:

  • Critical Client Incidents or significant events
  • contact with family or others which may impact on support needs
  • changes in resident behaviour or health issues
  • support plans
  • information which may result in health or welfare risks
  • issues which require specific action
  • information and copies of legal or formal orders, such as guardianship or supervised treatment orders.

CRIS information is used to provide:

  • individualised support
  • a summary of data service use, such as the Federal Government’s requirement for statistical information to determine ongoing funding requirements.

Staff with CRIS access enter their case notes, health information, individual health plans, Critical Client Incident reports and alerts, in accordance with regional direction.

The Client Relationship Information System for Service Providers (CRISSP) is a web-based client information and case management system offered to community service organisations that are funded to provide Child Protection Placement and Support, Disability Services, Juvenile Justice and Early Childhood Intervention Services.

As of 2016, the Department is still using both the CRIS and CRISSP systems.