Family Services caseworkers will walk off the job for an hour at noon tomorrow to highlight the high vacancy rates, lack of resources, computer problems and frustrating red tape that are hampering effective child protection in NSW.
The industrial action follows media reports last week which revealed NSW is short about 270 caseworkers, leaving children and young people at risk in NSW.
Public Service Association of NSW Assistant Secretary, Steve Turner said the crisis in child protection would see the first statewide stoppages of caseworkers in recent years, following stoppages in 19 offices over the past 18 months.
“Job cuts and a lack of resources have left the NSW Department of Community Services in crisis and the state’s vulnerable children and their families in danger,” Mr Turner said today.
“There are too many serious cases of children and young people at risk, with not enough caseworkers, support staff and resources to respond.
“Despite best efforts, staff are overwhelmed by inadequate resources and understaffing that stops them from essential face-to-face work with vulnerable children and their families.
“Caseworker and staff vacancy rates remain as high as 40% in some offices, including in areas with some of the most vulnerable children and families in the state.
“The PSA call for Minister Pru Goward to immediately address the lack of staff and resources and ensure not one more child at risk falls through the safety net,” Mr Turner said.
Caseworkers will only walk out at offices where its safe to do so, with staff allocated for handling emergency cases.