ChildStory go live must be delayed

Oct 20, 2017

ChildStory go live must be delayed – October 2017 (PDF version)

Members were excited about the introduction of a new system that would “represent a once in a generation opportunity to create an information technology system that places the child at the centre of their story”.

This was the Department’s commitment.

The momentum is building to go live with ChildStory on 13 November following a 2 week delay to “fix” problems. The PSA is hearing from our very experienced members who have attended User Acceptance testing, Coaches and the Caseworker training, that ChildStory is nowhere near ready to go live.

It is imperative that ChildStory allows you to do your job more easily. As it is, the opposite will be the case.  ChildStory needs to be put back to next year in order to get it right.

The PSA will be meeting with the Minister on 7 November (read our letter HERE) to discuss the many issues that need to be resolved before ChildStory can be successfully implemented.

Not fit for purpose

It is extremely disappointing that ChildStory is just not fit for purpose.

Some of the more serious issues are:

  • It is not intuitive. Our members have stated that it is actually less user friendly than KIDS
  • No quick, clear global view of a child’s records
  • No phonetic search capability. This will have a major impact at the Helpline when the reported child’s name is misspelt which is very common
  • Training manual and support documents are either not ready or inadequate. There are errors, gaps, incorrect information and basic omissions
  • Coaches and trainers are not receiving the training and support required to deliver or coach training
  • Some trainers are contractors with no knowledge of policy or practice
  • There are many more clicks than KIDS for almost all processes
  • There are many defects and at least 40% – 50% of tasks could not be completed during training due to defects
  • Supporting documents are not available
  • Policy has not been written.

It appears the whole system is fragmented and there is no support structure in place.

Recruitment hasn’t even finished establishing the central support teams which were meant to have been in place 3 months before go live.

Leaving vulnerable children at risk of harm

Our members in Community Services are the first responders to all children reported as being at risk of significant harm.

Our members are committed to keeping children safe either within their homes or, if unsafe, in Out of Home Care. Our members deal with traumatic life events, domestic violence and with the most extreme sexual, physical and emotional abuse of vulnerable children and they do this work to make a difference in the lives of children and their families.

It is therefore imperative that service delivery should not be compromised.

If it is, children will be the casualties. We won’t stand for that.

Community Services – Caseloads

Oct 5, 2017

Community Services – Caseloads – October 2017 (PDF version)

Excessive workloads

The PSA remains concerned about the excessive caseloads carried by caseworkers and the diminishing administrative staff who support our Caseworkers in caring for the most vulnerable children in the state.

Despite raising low staff morale and the unreasonable demands placed on Caseworkers and their colleagues in administrative support positions in frontline offices with FACS Secretary Michael Coutts-Trotter, our members see no change.

Child protection specialists, Psychologists and Legal Officers also report unreasonable workloads.

The PSA has highlighted concerns that responsibility and accountability for the department’s inadequate resourcing in child protection and OOHC was being pushed down onto frontline staff. We have further highlighted that unreasonable caseloads, coupled with the emotional challenges of working in child protection are being reflected in high rates of sick leave, workers compensation claims for psychological injury and secondary and vicarious trauma experienced by staff.

Recommendation 19 of the NSW Government response to the Upper House Enquiry to Child Protection

Recommendation 19.

“That the Department of Family and Community services in consultation with the Public Service Association and staff, set caseload targets for caseworkers, taking into account the complex nature of child protection work. This recommendation was merely noted and not supported.”

No agreement with the Department on caseload numbers

It has been reported to the PSA that Caseworkers are being directed to carry caseloads of 17 cases and that the PSA has agreed to these quotas.

The PSA has not agreed to any number of cases and maintains that cases are allocated using the workload planner. No Caseworker should be allocated cases over 140 hours per the workload planner month. The PSA maintains all Caseworkers carry a manageable caseload.

Safe Hands campaign

The PSA is revitalising the Safe Hands campaign as a direct result of not being heard by both the Minister and the Secretary despite raising your issues time and again.

It is time to fight back to ensure all children reported as at risk of significant harm receive the level of support to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

Increase the power of the PSA by encouraging your colleagues to join the PSA online at, or see your delegates for membership forms.

Stronger, Together – A unionised workplace is a fairer workplace

To arrange a meeting at your office please contact PSA on 1300 772 679.

Your PSA Staff:

Jose Vasquez – Organiser

Robin Croon – Organiser

Carmel McKeough – Industrial Officer

Govt ignoring child protection inquiry a disgrace – PSA

Sep 20, 2017

PSA Media release

The Public Service Association (PSA) has slammed the NSW Government for supporting only 12 of the 28 recommendations made by a Parliamentary Inquiry into Child Protection.

A key recommendation to extend the Auditor General’s powers to ensure accountability of all non-Government child protection organisations that receive state funding was among those ignored.

The union launched its “Safe hands” campaign during Child Protection Week to highlight the crisis which, among other horrors, sees up to 200 children housed by the Government in hotels and motels across the state each night due to a critical shortage of appropriate alternatives.

“The PSA has been sounding the alarm about a crisis in child protection and now the Government is ignoring the recommendations of a Parliamentary Inquiry which begs the question, who will this Government listen to on this critical social issue?” said Acting PSA General Secretary, Troy Wright.

“Unlike all public sector agencies, the Government clearly doesn’t want the Auditor General to regulate private providers who will continue to operate unchecked with millions of dollars of tax payer funds.

“Children are being removed from situations of risk every week across NSW and placed in completely unsuitable, insecure and potentially dangerous accommodation or are handed to private unregulated Out of Home Care providers.

“We have reports of supervision of these children being provided by private contractors at a cost of between $12,000 and $16,000 per week per child with no case management, no continuity of care and sometimes a different minder every shift.

“Yet incredibly, the Government has shied away from a recommendation to extend the Auditor General’s powers to ensure accountability in performamce of all non-Government child protection organisations that receive state funding”.

“The NSW Government is attempting to wipe its hands of responsibility for child protection and outsourcing its statutory duty of care for these children at the time when they need it most.

“We are witnessing a child protection system in crisis where children and families who urgently require support are either not receiving it, or, the nature of the intervention carries with it its own inherent risk of harm.

“Now the Government is not only ignoring these kids but is thumbing its nose at a Parliamentary Inquiry that was established to try and fix critical problems” said Troy Wright.

Govt spends tens of millions on consultants, tries to block pay rise for disability workers

Sep 19, 2017

PSA media release

The Public Service Association (PSA) has slammed the $10 million rise in the budget for consultants in one public sector agency alone while the Government cuts jobs and argues against a 2.5% pay rise for disability care workers.

“The Treasurer can defend the expenditure on the basis the Government is undertaking “unprecedented and complicated reforms” but what he doesn’t say is that process involves the wholesale sell off of public services in NSW such as the Land Titles Registry, disability and Out of Home Care,” said Acting PSA General Secretary, Troy Wright.

“The savage irony is that many of these Departments are spending money on consultants to manage the after-effects of employees being replaced with consultants”.

Read the full media release HERE.





Kids put in the same motels as crims – The Sunday Telegraph

Sep 4, 2017

“Children are being removed from situations of risk every week across NSW and placed in completely unsuitable, insecure and potentially dangerous accommodation,” PSA Assistant General Secretary, Troy Wright told the Sunday Telegraph as the PSA launches the Safe Hands campaign.

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GEO jail scandal: Junee under scrutiny – The Daily Advertiser

Jul 12, 2017

After the Government was forced to intervene in the wake of an inmate at Parklea prison filming himself with a knife and drugs, the spotlight has turned to Junee jail which is also privately run by GEO.

“The only way we find out about these issues is by inmates filming themselves – what sort of system is that?” said PSA General Secretary, Stewart Little.

Read the full Daily Advertiser article HERE.


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