Child Protection in Crisis: Campaign event notice - Public Service Association

Child Protection in Crisis: Campaign event notice

Child Protection workers at Wollongong Community Services Centre (CSC) will rally on Wednesday, 1 May (May Day) to protest high caseworker vacancies and the crisis in child protection services in NSW.

Members of the PSA will meet outside Wollongong CSC on Wednesday at 12:30pm to take their concerns directly to the community they serve. 

One in 10 child protection caseworker positions are unfilled in the Illawarra. But the vacancy rate on any given day is as high as one in five, often more.

Earlier this month, a peak meeting of PSA Delegates from across NSW unanimously endorsed a union campaign to fix the state’s broken Child Protection system.

In launching the Child Protection in Crisis campaign, PSA General Secretary Stewart Little said the union would commence a series of rolling campaign events across NSW. This is amid concern the state’s Child Protection system is on the brink of collapse, with vulnerable children being put at unacceptable risk due to underfunding and staff burnout.

“The Government knows Community Services is experiencing an unprecedented attraction-and-retention crisis, with one in four positions unfilled in some regions of the state. That’s according to the Department’s own figures,” Mr Little said.

“In many cases the Caseworkers who remain in the system are relatively inexperienced, with one in two staff in their first two years of employment with Community Services. Too often they are stranded with the extra workload of colleagues who have left.

“The most vulnerable kids in this state are at risk of serious harm, or worse, because Child Protection Workers just can’t cope, they’re understaffed, exhausted and see no other option than to take action.

“The government didn’t create this problem, but it’s their job to fix it.”

All off-duty PSA members who can attend are warmly invited to join the rally.

The PSA has notified the Department of Communities and Justice regarding the campaign event and will work with Community Services to ensure all urgent response arrangements are maintained.

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