More than 80 per cent of children involved in a review of the ACT care and protection system were subject to family violence for years with minimal change or intervention, according to a report released under Freedom of Information laws.
About 70 per cent of the same cohort were found to have suffered serious neglect that persisted over several years.
A Community Services Directorate case analysis report developed following the Glanfield Inquiry into the territory government's response to domestic and family violence in the ACT, paints a damning picture of the lack of protection provided to children engaging with the system in Canberra.
The report, published in October 2017, analysed 25 cases of individuals or families, totalling 38 children.
In the majority of cases, Child and Youth Protection Services had been involved with the child or the family for at least two years, and the child or children had been the subject of multiple reports received over an extended period of time. Only four of the 38 children had been known to CYPS for less than 12 months.
Of the 38 children, 14 identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, representing just over a third of analysed cases.
Eleven of the children, about 30 per cent of the cohort, were under the age of five.
The report notes that only four of the 11 children under the age of five were referred to the case analysis team in their own right rather than in response to reports relating to siblings.
"This is interesting to consider in the context of the children who are most often considered at risk or vulnerable by Child and Youth Protection Services ie. infants and very young children who, by virtue of their age are completely dependent on adults for protection," the report states.
About 56 per cent of the children were not subject to any care and protection order, a "substantial increase" from June 2017 when only 25 per cent of the children had no order.
About 20 per cent of the children were subject to care and protection orders that would serve them up to the age of 18, and the remaining 19 per cent were subject to either an interim care order, final two year order or a youth justice order.
According to the "case characteristics" outlined in the report, family violence was of major concern, affecting 31 of the 38 children.
"This is a very high percentage and paints a concerning picture for the safety and wellbeing of the children residing in these environments," the report states.
"For a number of children their exposure to this violence had been occurring for several years with minimal change or intervention."
The report revealed that neglect was evident in 26 of the 38 children, about 70 per cent, and that it "persisted for many children over several years".
The types of neglect evident included chronic neglect, defined in the report as living in an unhygienic or unsanitary state, or without sufficient food or care, neglecting to supervise children and leaving them alone to care for each other and neglecting to send a child to school.
The report also stated that "cumulative harm" was the primary reason for the family or child to be referred to the case analysis team, and was "clearly evident or an emerging concern in the cases of 34 children".
"The chronology (with its focus on patterns of harm and patterns of behaviour) proved useful for case managers in identifying cumulative harm as well as the analysis of impact on a child's development."
Substance misuse by either a parent or the young person was recorded in the history of 17 children. Common substances were the drug ice, cannabis and alcohol.
The report did note "practice strengths" were in collaboration between services including ACT Policing, ACT Together and CYPS in cases involving high-risk teenagers.
There were several areas of further training and policy development that were identified, however the specifics of those areas were redacted in the report so as not to prejudice a deliberative process of government, as required under the freedom of information legislation.
The report stated since the commencement of the case analysis team in October 2016, feedback links had been established to ensure the themes found in the report were shared and support was provided operationally.
The team had "co-facilitated two lunch and learn sessions", held joint feedback sessions between CYPS, ACT Together and Uniting and developed and distributed a Cumulative Harm Practice Guide, among other things.
The case analysis team was formed in response to the Glanfield Inquiry and was funded through the ACT government's 2016-17 domestic violence budget initiative.
"The case analysis team has three key objectives: the provision of independent analysis of individual cases at key decision making points; the identification of practice concerns, knowledge gaps and examples of good practice; and to improve the research, risk assessment and analytical skills of the case analysis team members," the report states.
The report, released under Freedom of Information, titled "Case analysis team: One year on" had all names and identifying features of children, families and those who submitted mandatory reports redacted as required under legislation.
A 2016-17 Productivity Commission report showed the rate of care and protection reports about potential harm to children in the territory was 352.8 per every 1000 Indigenous child, and 46.3 for non-Indigenous children.