Victoria’s Child Information Sharing Scheme – ChildLink – is on the way. Are you ready?
“It’s OK to share, it could make the difference” – a simple yet powerful message is at the heart of the Child Information Sharing Scheme, which allows authorised Victorian organisations to share information to support child wellbeing or safety.
Many organisations already work together to do this, with the Scheme having expanded legal permissions for professionals to share and request information from other professionals to ensure that those working with children can gain a complete view of the children they work with, making it easier to identify wellbeing or safety needs earlier, and to act on them sooner.
Currently, authorised organisations include services that work with children, young people and families, such as Child Protection, Youth Justice, Maternal and Child Health, and Victoria Police, and the Scheme covers all Victorian children and young people from 0-18 years of age.
From December 2021, the Victorian Government will expand on the scheme, including a web-based register, dubbed Child Link, that will display information about a child and key family members to authorised key professionals (known as Child Link users) who have responsibility for child wellbeing and safety.
Child Link will bring together data from existing systems and services to form a single and aggregated source of information about a child and their engagement in key childhood services, such as Maternal and Child Health services and school.
Child Link will provide Child Link users with critical information about the children in their care so that they can:
- make more informed decisions about the wellbeing, safety and support needs of a child in their school or service
- better identify needs, issues and vulnerabilities that may be present and provide the support necessary to prevent an escalation of harm
- collaborate with other professionals working with the child and their family to provide a more connected service response for children and families.
Child Link will also allow for de-identified and longitudinal data sets to inform better policy development and service design. The data will give insights into how children interact across various universal services and programs as they grow and develop.
Security and privacy are core to the design and implementation of Child Link, and appropriate technological and operational safeguards will be in place to protect a child’s information.
The professionals who may be authorised to be Child Link users are limited by law, and work in specific roles which have responsibility for child wellbeing and safety. Most Child Link users will be professionals, who have regular contact with children and families, and will be able to identify and intervene early where there is a wellbeing concern or safety risk. Professionals who can be authorised may include:
- Child Protection workers
- Maternal and Child Health nurses
- Key staff in Early Childhood Education settings
- School principals, student wellbeing officers and key teaching staff
Child Link will become available for Child Link users progressively from December 2021.
More information, including how to make a request under the Child Information Sharing Scheme and access other resources, guides, templates and tools is available here.