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.