Caring Records: Professional Insights into Child-Centered Case Note Recording

Martine Hawkes, Joanne Evans, Barbara Reed

The consequences of poorly processed reports of child abuse and neglect, along with governance challenges in child protection systems, are well-documented. Recent research, inquiries and royal commissions emphasise the need for child-centered and participatory practices that support the rights and dignity of children and their families. However, the challenges of quality case recording in child protection systems and contexts remain unclear.

This paper reports on the findings from a pilot study that interviewed (n = 22) and surveyed (n = 56) social work students and social work curriculum developers from Australian Universities and practitioners currently working in the Australian child protection service system. By capturing participants' professional insights, the authors aim to understand the embedded barriers to transforming child-centered systems by focusing on strengths and possibilities in current practices rather than reiterating deficiencies in recordkeeping.

This paper reveals insights into how professionals working in the child protection system understand and are supported in child-centered case note recording and recordkeeping practices. It also identifies the possibilities for the crucial role that interdisciplinary collaboration and alignment between social work and recordkeeping informatics can play in transforming and supporting recordkeeping approaches and practices that prioritise and uphold the rights and dignity of the child.