Ombudsman's report critical of struggling child protection system

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Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services Tania Mihailuk has called on the Baird Government to reinstate nearly $3 million and 82 jobs cut from statutory child protection in this year’s budget, after the release of the NSW Ombudsman’s Report of Reviewable Deaths in 2012 and 2013.

The report found ‘the statutory child protection system is struggling to meet the demands placed on it’[1] and raised ‘questions about the adequacy and quality of the casework provided.’[2]

The Ombudsman’s report also emphasised the need for statutory child protection staff to[3]:

  • conduct comprehensive and timely safety and risk assessments that lead to action being taken commensurate with the level of risk;
  • undertake regular reviews to assess progress, the effectiveness of the intervention, and the potential need for alternative courses of action;
  • receive sufficient supervision and support, and seek and obtain expert advice when required.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services Tania Mihailuk

“Following the Ombudsman’s criticisms of the Baird Government, Mike Baird has no choice but to reverse his callous cuts to child protection in last week’s budget.”

“The Ombudsman states what is already crystal clear - ‘the statutory child protection system is struggling to meet the demands placed on it’.

“This report adds another voice to the growing call to improve the services meant to protect defenceless children – and address the crisis in our state’s child protection system.

“Considering caseworker positions have been chronically left unfilled, it is sadly no surprise the Ombudsman raised ‘questions about the adequacy and quality of the casework provided.’”

“It is extraordinary that despite the Ombudsman highlighting the extreme pressures on the statutory child protection system, Mike Baird has seen fit to cut nearly $3 million[4] and slash 82 jobs[5] in that specific area.”

“This damning report should be a wake-up call to Mike Baird and he should respond by reversing his heartless job cuts to statutory child protection services.”

 

[1] Ombudsman NSW: Report of Reviewable Deaths in 2012 and 2013 Volume 1:Child Deaths p56

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Budget Papers 2015-16, Budget Paper No. 3, p3-1 

[5] Budget Papers 2015-16, Budget Paper No. 3, p3-10