Many of us remember a tragic incident in 2013 when a six-year-old boy was the victim of a homicide and RCMP believed a ten-year-old was responsible.
In response, the Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth delivered a Special Investigative report entitled “Two Tragedies – Holding Systems Accountable.”
As part of the government’s response to this report, a number of ministries and organizations came together as one team earlier this year to improve processes by considering the child’s experience and identifying gaps or breakdowns in services – and fixing those problems.
Through a Value Stream Mapping exercise, the team saw first-hand the dangers of a missed hand-off of information and missed opportunities for communication.
Working together, they standardized information requirements and actions among the Ministries of Education, Health, Social Services, police organizations and other agencies when hand-offs of information occur due to transfer of responsibility, or when information is disclosed to help another human service provider to provide appropriate care for at-risk children.
A few examples included developing decision-making tools or protocols to determine situations that require joint reviews, and implementing a plan to communicate child abuse protocol responsibilities to all education sector employees.
Six months after the mapping exercise, ministries and agencies continue to work through their implementation plans and use Daily Visual Management to track progress in a coordinated fashion.
This type of work is behind the scenes and not readily visible to the public. Yet a streamlined, coordinated process is critical to have in place for kids when they really need help.