PSA submission: “The current child protection system is not fit for purpose” - Public Service Association

PSA submission: “The current child protection system is not fit for purpose”

Submission - March 2021 (PDF version)

The PSA lodged a submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Child Protection and Social Services System last December. It contained recommendations of how the child protection system can and must be augmented.

The core PSA recommendations include:

  • a dramatic increase in case worker staff
  • an increase in funding for Community Services and
  • a guaranteed exemption from budget efficiency dividends
  • a guarantee that the statutory responsibility for the care and protection of children and young people in NSW should remain a core function of the DCJ.

Failure to implement these core recommendations will only lead to a continued failure to protect the vulnerable children and families of NSW.

You can read our submission HERE

In order to complete this submission, the Association surveyed our membership and collaborated extensively with our delegates. Many members provided feedback and comments about their experiences working in Child Protection which were quoted in the submission.

“The current child protection system is not fit for purpose”
“Sooner or later the government will have to explain why they are closing cases”
(Members, DCJ: Community Services)

Every case put forward in this submission has been informed by our members. The evidence provided by members on how the child protection system in NSW is currently working is damning:

  • When asked if CS “is successfully providing a proactive, helpful and timely response to all vulnerable children and families in NSW”, 79 per cent said no.
  • 95 per cent of members believe that the NSW Government does not employ enough case workers to achieve the work needed to protect vulnerable children and families.
  • 91 per cent of members said that CS does not have enough resources to effectively respond to ROSH Reports in a timely manner.
  • 84 per cent believe current departmental funding is inadequate.

Child Protection workers in CS provide invaluable expert care to the vulnerable children and families of NSW. But they are seriously overworked and under-resourced, which is diminishing the quality and quantity of care they can provided.

The erosion of quality working conditions in the child protection workforce is consequently eroding the quality of care for vulnerable children and families.

The PSA strongly believes that the quantity of case workers needs to reflect the number of vulnerable children needing protection. Too many children are falling through the cracks.  As highlighted in our submission, the PSA continues to fight for more DCJ child protection workers. It is critical that you are adequately resourced to protect children and not suffer the consequences of chronic under-funding through excessive workloads and the constant threat of performance management.

“Child protection is core government work it is time to make Community Services as strong and well-equipped as it can possibly be”
Stewart Little, General Secretary of the PSA says in the submission.

Do you know someone who is not a member? 

You can support the work of the PSA and delegates to get better outcomes for everyone just by asking your colleagues to JOIN the PSA.

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