Child Protection Workers begin campaign over system in crisis - Public Service Association

Child Protection Workers begin campaign over system in crisis

A peak meeting of PSA Delegates from across NSW has today 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 Department’s own statistics show that 77 per cent of children reported as at risk of significant harm received no visit from Caseworkers in the December quarter last year, 12 months on from a 2022 review that found low staffing numbers were believed to be among the reasons for some of the deaths of children in child protection,” said Mr Little.

“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, again according to the Department’s own figures.

“In terms of Caseworker vacancies, we believe the situation is actually much worst than what the Department is prepared to admit.“

In many cases the Caseworkers who remain in the system are relatively inexperienced, with one in four 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.

Premier Chris Minns needs to intervene, said Mr Little.

“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 industrial action,” he said.

“Premier Minns needs to immediately recruit another 500 Child Protection Workers to address the attraction and retention crisis in child protection, otherwise the system will collapse. I can’t put it any more plainly than that.

“The Minns Government didn’t create this mess but it’s now their responsibility to fix it. To not act now would be a massive moral failure.

“People in Child Protection don’t take action lightly, they know how important every single minute of their work is. But they just can’t go on as the system crumbles around their ears.”

Click HERE to view a video of the campaign launch.

For information on how to get involved in the campaign, get in contact with the union on 1800 772 679 and ask to speak to a member of our Communities Team.

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