Within the faculty's Centre for Organisational and Community Informatics, the Archives and the Rights of the Child Research Program is investigating ways to re-imagine recordkeeping systems in support of responsive and accountable child-centred and family focused out-of-home care. Progressive child protection practice recognises the need, where possible, to support and strengthen parental engagement in the system in order to ensure the best interests of the child. 'No single strategy is of itself effective in protecting children. However, the most important factor contributing to success is the quality of the relationship between the child's family and the responsible professional' (Dartington, 1995 quoted in Qld Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services 2013). Child protection and court processes generate a mountain of documentation that can be overwhelming and confusing to navigate, hard to manage and keep track of, especially if parents are also dealing with health and behavioural issues. Being on top of the paperwork handed out by workers, providing the documentation the system demands in a timely fashion and ensuring that records are created to document interactions, etc. could be one way in which child protection outcomes could be improved.
In this exploratory project, we would like to investigate how digital and networked information technologies could be used to support the recordkeeping needs of parents in child protection cases. It will involve the use of a design science approach to develop a model the information architecture of a recordkeeping system for parents. This may entail the creation of a prototype utilising existing and/or new open source components as a demonstrator for further research and development. Challenges include investigating and dealing with the digital, recordkeeping, and other literacies of families involved in child protection. The other challenge is that there will not be time to form the deep, trusted relationships that are required to do this in a truly participatory manner. The project will rely on secondary sources such as literature and subject matter experts --- rather than interacting with parents and families directly.
Assistant Director Child Protection. (2017). Child Protection Manual. Retrieved February 8, 2018, from http://www.cpmanual.vic.gov.au/ Burstein, F. (2002). System development in information systems research. In K. Williamson (Ed.), Research Methods for Students and Professionals: Information Management and Systems (pp. 147-158). Wagga Wagga, N.S.W.: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University. Gurstein, M. (2003). Effective use: A community informatics strategy beyond the Digital Divide. First Monday, 8(12). Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1107 Hinton, T. (2013). Parents in the child protection system. Social Action and Research Centre, Anglicare Tasmania. Retrieved from https://www.socialactionresearchcentre.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Parents-in-the-child-protection-system.pdf Hersberger, J. A. (2013). Are the economically poor information poor? Does the digital divide affect the homeless and access to information? Presented at the Proceedings of the Annual Conference of CAIS/Actes du congr¨s annuel de l'ACSI. Western Suburbs Legal Service. (2008). Child protection: a guide for parents and family members. Newport, Vic.: Western Suburbs Legal Service.
The ideal candidate will have a background in one or more of software development, data analytics, and recordkeeping metadata modelling, with a keen desire to expand their knowledge and skills into the other areas encompassed by this research project. They will have. This is not so much a technical projects as one that engages with the societal and community needs of the target audience. It would suit someone from an MBIS background with an interest in community informatics, recordkeeping metadata modelling and/or value sensitive research and design, coupled with a keen desire to expand their existing knowledge and skills into the other areas encompassed but this research project.