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Sector-Specific Screening Guide (SSSG) and Child Abuse Reporting Guide (CARG)

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Please refer to the Training Information tab for more information on how to sign up for SSSG E-Learning.

 

Information on SSSG and CARG

What is the Structured Decision Making® (SDM®) system? 

The Structured Decision Making® (SDM®) system is owned by the Children’s Research Center, National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), USA. It is an evidence-based decision support system used in many child protection jurisdictions across the United States, Canada, Australia and Taiwan.

The Child Protective Service (CPS) of the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) initiated a process since late 2013 and worked with NCCD and sector partners from the Education, Health and Social Service sectors in adapting the SDM® for local practice. Under the SDM® system, a suite of tools was developed and localised. The tools will guide decisions on when a referral to CPS is needed and are meant to support professional judgement and practice experience in carrying out decisions affecting the safety of children. It is envisaged that the SDM® system will provide greater clarity in right siting intervention for children along the continuum of child protection concerns. 

What are SSSG and CARG? 

The SSSG and CARG are part of the SDM®. They are evidence-based tools, which guide partners working with children to make decisions on whether a child protection concern needs to be reported to CPS. The SSSG is used by frontline professionals who have contact with children on a regular basis and guides professionals on whether the concern should be discussed with someone in the organization who is more familiar with child protection issues. Within each organisation, trained professionals undertake the use of the CARG, which is used to guide the decision on whether to report a concern to CPS, take alternative action or take no action. 

The information appended below provides an overview of the SSSG and CARG. CPS had also developed the Screening and Response Priority Tool (SRPT) for its internal use. 

SDM® assessment tools
Who uses them?  Key decision for user to make  Key benefits 
Sector-Specific Screening Guide (SSSG) 
Frontline professionals who come in contact with children on a regular basis, e.g. teachers, doctors, social workers 
Should I discuss a concern I have for a child with someone in my organization who is more familiar with child protection issues? 
• Provide a common language and lens on child protection and consistency in how issues are assessed and decisions are made by professionals across the child protection system

• Guide professionals to think through relevant issues at each decision point.

• Identify the levels of intervention needed and agencies to be involved.
Child Abuse Reporting Guide (CARG) 
Professionals trained/ more familiar in child protection issues, e.g. school counsellors, medical social workers, senior social workers / Agency Heads
Should I report/refer the case to:
• CPS or 
• Community Agencies (e.g. Social Service Office, Family Service Centres, community-based Child Protection Specialist Centres etc)?
Screening and Response Priority Tool (SRPT) 
CPS 
Should we screen in the case and undertake an investigation; if it is screened in, how fast do we respond?

SSSG and CARG Infographic

What are SSSG and CARG?

Sector-Specific Screening Guide (SSSG) and Child Abuse Reporting Guide (CARG)

SSSG and CARG are part of the Structured Decision Making® (SDM®) system. They support a range of responses along the continuum of child protection concerns and guide professionals in deciding when a referral to MSF's Child Protective Service (CPS) is required.

CARG Instructional Video

The CARG Instructional Video aims to enhance understanding on the use of CARG. Watch this space for the video.

SSSG E-Learning

The SSSG E-Learning provides an accessible platform for learners who would like to be equipped with basic knowledge and skills in identifying and responding to child protection concerns. It is targeted at professionals from the health, education, social service and law enforcement sectors who interact with children and young persons on a regular basis. The 1-hour E-Learning comprises engaging activities, case scenarios and an assessment to enhance your knowledge and skills. You will receive an E-certificate upon successful completion of the E-Learning.

You may register for the SSSG E-Learning via Learning Cloud. Please note that you are required to have a Learner’s account before you are able to register for the E-Learning.

If you do not have a Learner’s account, you may follow the instructions below to create an account:

  1. Click on this link
  2. Click on "Enrol"
  3. Select ‘You can register yourself here’
  4. Fill in the details required.


Once you
r account is created, you may log in using your account to register for the SSSG E-Learning.

SSSG and CARG User Training Information

The SSSG and CARG User Training is a 1-day facilitative/classroom learning. This course introduces the SSSG, CARG and their roles in the detection, reporting and management of child abuse. These tools help professionals decide on the need to report possible child abuse and neglect concerns to CPS. It also provides participants with opportunities to practice applying the tools in training scenarios and engages the participants to discuss how to work with the SSSG reporter who first raises the concerns of a child abuse or neglect.

By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the SSSG
  2. Understand the purpose of implementing CARG and the goals of CARG.
  3. Understand the relationship between CARG, SSSG and SRPT
  4. Apply the CARG
  5. Identify ways to work with SSSG users in responding to the decision outcome.

Target audience includes professionals who are preferably social work or counselling trained or senior staff holding a supervisory role.

For information on training schedule, please click here.

SSSG and CARG Train-the-Trainers (TTT) Training Information

The SSSG and CARG TTT is a 1-day facilitative/classroom learning. The course equips participants with knowledge and skills to conduct training for their peers on how to use the SSSG and CARG tools. The course also includes a practice component that allows participants to rehearse and sharpen their skills in teaching the tools. The course will further equip participants to discuss and plan how they could roll out their training and be the internal resource persons for SSSG and CARG at their respective agencies.

By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the key concepts of SSSG and CARG.
  2. Apply the training approach in delivering SSSG and CARG to train peers in using the tools.
  3. Relate the role of an SSSG and CARG trainer as an internal resource person to the process of implementing change.

Target audience includes practitioners who provide oversight of child abuse/ neglect cases and/or are involved/interested in training. Participants should have at least three years of social service experience and be a senior staff or supervising a few junior staff. Participants of this workshop are nominated by selected agencies.

For information on training schedule, please click here.

General

1. What is SSSG and CARG?

The SSSG and CARG are evidence-based tools which help professionals working with children to make decisions on whether a child protection concern needs to be reported to the Child Protective Service (CPS) of the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF). The tools are part of the Structured Decision Making® (SDM) system which includes other tools like the Screening and Response Priority Tool (SRPT). The series of tools aim to guide the detection, reporting and management of child abuse cases. It helps ensure that children and young persons are given the relevant service and intervention according to the needs.

For more information, please go to the 'Information on SSSG and CARG' tab. 

2. Who uses the SSSG and CARG?

The SSSG is used by frontline professionals who have contact with children on a regular basis and guides professionals’ decision on whether the concern should be discussed with someone in the organisation who is more familiar with child protection issues. Within each organisation and in the community, trained professionals managing child protection issues undertake or provide advice on the use of the CARG, which is used to guide the decision on whether to report a concern to CPS, take alternative action or take no action.

3. Are SSSG and CARG always accurate in detecting child abuse cases?

SSSG and CARG were jointly developed by professionals from various sectors such as healthcare, social service and education and are designed with Singapore’s laws, cultures and families in mind. Representatives from these sectors help create and contextualise the items in SSSG and CARG to include situations that professionals in the sector are most likely to experience. However, the items are not exhaustive and there may be exceptional cases that will require the professionals to exercise their professional judgement.

SSSG and CARG are intended to complement rather than replace critical thinking and do not prohibit a reporter from any course of action he/she believes is appropriate.

4. Can I read the CARG manual and use the tool without going for training?

You should go for training before using the manual and the tool. The reporting decision is not an easy one and the consequences of the decision are considerable. During training, important principles about the use of CARG will be covered and these will have an impact on how the CARG should be used, which will eventually affect the reporting decision.

5. Is there an online version of CARG that we can use?

There will be an online version of CARG that will be rolled out in 2019. More details to be made available subsequently.

Training

1. What is the duration of the SSSG and CARG User training?

For CARG, it is a 1-day classroom training. You may find out more about the training details in the 'Training Information' tab.

Currently there are no standalone training for SSSG. However, the development of the e-learning for SSSG is underway and it will be rolled out in 2019. More information of the SSSG e-learning will be updated in the 'Training Information' tab.

2. What are the eligibility criteria for SSSG and CARG User training?

There are no eligibility criteria for SSSG training.

CARG requires some form of assessment skills and basic knowledge of case management. Hence, to sign up for CARG training, you need to have a degree or diploma in social work or social service related fields, or have experience working in the social service sector. Senior staff holding a supervisory role such as school principals, head of child care centres, may also sign up for the CARG training.

3. I am interested to become an internal trainer for SSSG and CARG in my organisation. What are the eligibility criteria?

The SSSG and CARG Train-the-Trainers (TTT) course equips participants with the knowledge and skills to conduct training on the use of the SSSG and CARG for workers in their agencies. The course was reviewed recently to enhance the practice component that allows participants to rehearse and sharpen their skills in teaching the tools. The course further equips the participants to discuss and plan how they can roll out their training and be the internal resource persons for SSSG and CARG at their agencies.

The TTT participants must have completed the CARG user training. They must have at least three years of social service experience and be either a senior staff or undertaking supervisory duties with oversight of child abuse/neglect cases and/or are involved/interested in training. They must be nominated by their agency heads and are committed to run at least 1 internal training in their agencies within 1 year from the time they completed their TTT course.

Click on the 'Training Information' tab for more information on the TTT course.

4. What is the frequency of SSSG and CARG User training?

Find out more on the SSSG and CARG User training schedule on the 'Training Information' tab.

Processes

1. If I am already CARG trained, do I still have to use SSSG when I have child protection concerns?

You do not have to use the SSSG before you can use CARG. The SSSG and CARG are not 2-step processes where one must be completed before the other can be used. In addition, SSSG and CARG hold very different reporting thresholds, with CARG holding a higher reporting threshold as compared to SSSG.

2. Is it compulsory that the SSSG user comes to me with SSSG completed?

It is not compulsory for the SSSG to be completed before the SSSG user can consult the CARG user. One of the roles of a CARG user is to guide the SSSG user to increase his/her willingness and confidence in using SSSG. Hence, as a CARG user, you are encouraged to do the SSSG together with the SSSG user if the latter is unsure on how to use the tool.

3. I have a case that doesn’t meet the threshold for reporting to CPS but I still have concerns. What should I do? Who can I talk to?

SSSG and CARG are designed to help the workers carefully calibrate and consider information that is relevant to the decision point. By doing so, it helps workers to be intentional about decisions. However, SSSG and CARG are decision-support tools. They do not make the decisions. Workers do.

If the recommended outcome of SSSG/CARG is not to consult/report, you can still consult the internal CARG user, the Child Protection Specialist Centre (CPSC) or the Child Protective Service (CPS).

4. What happens if the internal CARG user is not available?

If your internal CARG user is not available, you may call the CPSC or the CPS for a consult. You may also contact the police if you have worries over immediate danger to the safety and well-being of the child or young person.

5. What happens if I need to make a report to CPS immediately after consulting CARG, but it is after office hours?

If you have worries over immediate danger to the safety and well-being of the child or young person, contact the police immediately. If the worry is not over immediate danger to the safety and well-being of the child or young person, you should try do an immediate safety plan that includes actions that can directly mitigate the danger for the child or young person for at least the next 24 hours. If you are unable to develop an immediate safety plan with the family to address the danger and you are still worried over the child or young person’s safety, please call the police immediately for assistance.

6. How does CPS decide what case to screen in? Are there some standard criteria?

All CPS intake officers will consult the SRPT for all referrals to CPS. SRPT is another decision-support tool and part of the SDM system. It helps to define the statutory threshold for cases to be screened in for statutory intervention and the threshold is aligned to the Children and Young Persons Act (CYPA).

After a case is screened in for state intervention, SRPT also helps to inform on the response time that a CPS’ investigation officer has to act on the case, depending on the risk assessed.

7. How long will CPS take to respond to all referrals from the time of report?

Upon referral of a case, there will be an acknowledgement from CPS to inform the reporter that the case has been received and is undergoing preliminary assessment by CPS’ intake officers. The response time from the time of referral to screening outcome from the CPS intake officer is between 1 to 3 working days, depending on the clarity of information provided by the referring agencies. Sometimes, the intake officers will need more time to clarify missing information before they are able to consult SRPT and get back to the reporting agency on the referral outcome.

8. If CPS screens out the case, will CPS recommend or advice on next steps for the professional to follow up on?

CPS’ intake officers will advise on the next steps that the professionals can take for screened-out cases. 

Enquiry

1. If I have questions about SSSG and CARG, who should I contact?

You may email your enquiry to ncss_sscb@ncss.gov.sg.

If you have any questions about SSSG and CARG, you may email ncss_sscb@ncss.gov.sg.

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Last Reviewed On Fri, Nov 15, 2019