NSW caseworker numbers to be made public
AAP via Sydney Morning Herald 11th March 2013
Caseworker numbers for the entire child protection system in NSW will be made public as the state government attempts to boost transparency in the wake of a toddler’s death.
Announcing the move in parliament on Tuesday, Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward said it would also improve accountability.
It follows the death of a Wollongong toddler in August last year, who was reported to the Department of Community Services three times in the five weeks before his death suffering extensive bruising and human bite marks.
Details of his case led to a strike by child protection workers in Wollongong over staffing levels.
Ms Goward on Tuesday said she had instructed her director general to begin regular publication of caseworker numbers across the sector by the end of the year.
It will cover “the whole child protection system” and include government and non-government organisations.
“I have further asked for external validation of the department’s data collection and publication process, and we will be seeking the advice of the NSW Ombudsman and Auditor-General in this regard,” Ms Goward told question time.
Last week in parliament Labor MP Linda Burney said staff shortages at the Wollongong Community Service Centre had reached “chronic levels”.
Ms Goward said on Tuesday that caseworker numbers “go up and down all the time”.
“But it is important that we all have clarity on what they are so that it no longer is a source of continual unrest and lies from the opposition and the Public Service Association.
“And caseworker numbers will change as we work better and more closely with our non-government partners to improve services and lives.”