Tag: child-sensitive records

It started out as a neutral acronym, a convenient short form of Guardianship of the Minister, which made it’s way into common usage among professionals working with children in care.  We polled professionals and the results are below.

Young people in care have told us they don’t like it.  They find it offensive for its negative connotations and prefer terms like ‘children in care’ or, more formally, ‘children under the guardianship of the Minister’.

In the words of a Youth Advisory Committee member in 2011…

It’s wrong to call someone a ‘GOM kid’… it’s offensive…no-one thinks good of you when they say ‘he’s a GOM kid’

For this reason alone we should stop using it.

But there are other reasons.

Language conditions our thinking.  Acronyms routinely applied to a group of people can become dehumanising and so Australia’s First Peoples now, legitimately, dislike the use of ‘ATSI’. Up til the end of the last century ‘the disabled’ were a common subject of the discourse until we made the conscious mindshift that they were ‘people with disabilities’ – that is people first and foremost and not defined by a disability.

When ‘GOM’ comes from the lips of even the most well-meaning person or appears in the pages of the most high-minded document it falls like the thud of a stamp indelibly marking the subject as someone permanently defined and confined by a circumstance over which they have no control.

We could abolish this peculiarly South Australian term from our speech and writing at once with a minor effort of mindfulness. It would be one more step to reforming our habits of thinking, and the attitudes of the community, and remind them that, to us, they are children and young people first, last and always.

The results of a poll on whether we should use the term “GOM’ conducted between 14 and 20 June 2016 gave the following results:

Implementation of the Information Sharing Guidelines is going well with Nunkuwarrin Yunti, DECS, DFC, SA Health and UnitingCare Wesley Adelaide in the training and induction phase for staff.  The second stage agencies, Australian Red Cross, Centacare and the government agencies under the umbrella of the Department of Justice, are preparing their procedures.

The Guardian’s 2008-09 Annual Report was tabled in Parliament in late October and the report of the inquiry into the use of physical restraint was released to the public on 13 January.  The restraint report and a report summary are available on the Guardian’s website.

A brochure to encourage young people under guardianship to consider applying to attend university was distributed to all Families SA offices, secondary schools and major universities.

The Office’s Child-sensitive records checklist, formerly only available as a PDF file on  the website, has been printed and can now be ordered in quantity from [email protected] .

The Being in Care products for children are in demand and some items are now out of stock.  We are delighted that so many children have the products and hear the message that they have the right to be safe.

Sara Bann, one of our Youth Advisors, met the Prime Minister on 20 January and gave him a copy of the book, How Australian Kids See the World, commemorating the 20thanniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

We welcome to our team Benita Brinkworth, 15, our newest Youth Advisor. You can read more about Benita on the staff team page.

This guide to good practice is intended to encourage adults who are making decisions about children’s and young people’s care to work with them on those decisions.  This is not just about children’s rights, though that is clear, but about making good decisions.  Good decisions are not absolute and we do not have perfect foresight so we will make mistakes.  However good decisions are as much about the way we do it and the impressions we leave, as the decision itself.

You can download a PDF file of the Guide-to-good-practice-in-childrens-particpation .

This checklist can help workers and their agencies ensure that case records and reports produced about a child or young person are child-centred and child-sensitive.

It is based on what young people have told the Office of the Guardian  about what information they think should be recorded and how it should be recorded.

The  Child-sensitive records checklist can be downloaded as a PDF file from our website or printed copies can be obtained via our requesting materials page.

For most children and young people, decisions about where to go to school, where to live and who they spend time with are made by their parents.  Children and young people in care have these decisions made in formal processes such as case conferences by a number of adults, some of whom a child or young person might not know (Thomas & O’Kane 1998, 1999).  Participation is important for all children and young people, but even more so for children and young people in state care.

This literature review examines the participation of children and young people who are in state care in decisions about their lives.  It focuses on individual case planning and review meetings as a venue in which participation can be exercised. Participation, of course, is also an ongoing process and participation can occur in other settings such as family group conferences.

You can download a PDF file of Participation of children and young people in decisions – literature review and a PDF file of  Summary of Participation of children and young people in decisions – literature review from our website.