Edgeworth, Cessnock caseworkers walk out over understaffing - Public Service Association

Edgeworth, Cessnock caseworkers walk out over understaffing

Community services child protection staff in Edgeworth and Cessnock have stopped work for an hour this afternoon over concerns about the impact of inadequate staffing, according to the Public Service Association of NSW.

The Edgeworth office had been operating with a vacancy rate of 20%, with a vacancy rate of up to 22% in Cessnock.

PSA Assistant Secretary Steve Turner said understaffing and a lack of resources means the overwhelming majority of vulnerable children being brought to the attention of community services are not being seen by caseworkers.

“Chronic understaffing means only one in ten children known to be at risk are receiving face-to-face visits from caseworkers in NSW,” Mr Turner said today.

“Caseworkers at Edgeworth, Cessnock and across the state have been placed in the impossible position where they simply do not have the resources to follow up every child at risk of serious harm.

“The Government is clearly failing some of the most vulnerable members of our community – children needing its protection.

“Caseworkers and other community services staff say unless the State Government starts filling caseworker vacancies and providing better resources, preventable child protection incidents will keep on happening.

“There are vacancy rates of up to 22% for caseworkers at Cessnock, while other offices are struggling to cope with vacancy rates as high as 40%.

“The State Government must fill all community services vacancies – not just caseworkers, but the frontline staff who support caseworkers to do their job with vulnerable children and families.

“It should urgently address the failure of the computer system designed to free up caseworker time and other administrative issues keeping staff desk bound rather than out meeting children and families,” he said.

Contact: Steve Turner 0418 675 564 

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