“Inefficient, ineffective, and unsustainable”: Auditor General slams NSW Child Protection system - Public Service Association

“Inefficient, ineffective, and unsustainable”: Auditor General slams NSW Child Protection system

The most vulnerable children in NSW are subjected to a “crisis driven” and “inefficient, ineffective, and unsustainable” Child Protection System according to a report released by the Auditor General on Thursday 6 June 2024.

The report finds the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) doesn’t proactively support families at their earliest point of contact with the Child Protection System.  but rather waits until families are in crisis increasing the likelihood children will be removed from their parents.

Sadly the report confirms everything the PSA members in Child Protection have known for years.

Privatisation of services in the past decade means DCJ no longer monitors the wellbeing of children in Out of Home Care (OOHC). This means it doesn’t have the information needed to meet its legislative responsibility to ensure children “receive such care and protection as is necessary for their safety, welfare and wellbeing” the report finds.

Privatisation has led to 471 children living in costly and damaging environments such as hotels and motels for months or years at a time at a cost of $300 million per annum, rather than with foster parents or in group homes as was the system before privatisation. The PSA knows of one child who cost taxpayers $1.2 million to be put up in hotels and motels.

The numbers of children being returned to their parents from OOHC has declined in the past six years.

As a result of the workload child protection caseworkers are leaving in droves, one in two leave in the first two years.

OOHC providers need to be completely removed from the child protection system. They are getting in the way of Child Protection Caseworkers looking after kids, yet actually cost the taxpayer more than the old system.

We have known for years that Child Protection is in crisis. The PSA hopes the Auditor General report will back up our campaign for real change to a system that is failing.

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