PSA General Secretary Stewart Little and former Community Services employee and PSA Organiser Robin Croon were interviewed on ABC radio’s World at Noon about ChildStory. They highlighted the continuing risks to child safety and the extra pressures placed on already overworked caseworkers by the new system.
The PSA is both amazed and saddened that Minister Goward and her Department failed to heed our advice that ChildStory was not ready to go live.
As we highlighted on the ABC, caseworkers are now having to manage the consequences of this poor and irresponsible decision making which includes:
- Incomplete, defective or failed data migration
- Some foster carers who have been de-authorised in KIDS are appearing as authorised in ChildStory thus putting children and young people at risk of being placed with a de-authorised carer; and
- in some cases, confirmed ROSH reports investigated by JIRT where harm was substantiated have migrated to ChildStory as unsubstantiated which clearly places significant risk in decision making around the safety of children.
The response from FACS Secretary Michael Coutts-Trotter to the very real and genuine issues raised by the PSA is simply outrageous.
He went for the lowest common denominator and attacked our credibility and downplayed the problems, claiming that ChildStory was thoroughly tested prior to going live.
This clearly demonstrates that he has no appreciation or real understanding about the impact of the premature roll-out of a system that is not anywhere near ready to be used for its intended purpose.
ChildStory is supposedly a purpose built, cutting edge system that has cost the tax payers of NSW millions of dollars, but in reality, it is a very expensive lemon.
We invite the Secretary to meet with our members who will advise him that ChildStory does not free them to spend more time in the field.
In fact ChildStory, and its very significant problems, have greatly increased the time that they are spending at their computers.
While $130 million and counting has been spent on ChildStory, our child protection system continues to be overburdened and under-resourced, leaving NSW exposed in a damning report from the Productivity Commission.
This is just one part of our continuing campaign to raise awareness about the horror story you are experiencing on a daily basis, to pressure the Department to acknowledge the magnitude of the problems and fix them.
Our members must have a system that is functional, appropriate and defect free to enable them to provide the service children, young people and their families need and deserve.