O’Farrell’s attack to caseworkers leaves children worst off
Distraught caseworkers in the Illawarra have staged a walk out for one hour this afternoon to protest their distress at the O'Farrell Government's underfunding of child protection and staffing cuts which are putting vulnerable children at risk.
Two hundred child protection workers in the Illawarra have taken industrial action this afternoon to demand the O'Farrell Government reinstate full staffing levels and stop its planned 900 job cuts from child protection.
This follows reports that caseworkers were unable to follow up on a report of a two year old child at risk of harm recently because they were simply too shortstaffed.
Tragically, the toddler later died. The matter is now the subject of a police investigation.
"The O'Farrell Government's cuts to child protection are putting vulnerable children at risk," Shadow Minister for Community Services, Barbara Perry said.
"We already know the O'Farrell Government is cutting 968 staff from the department that protects the most vulnerable children in NSW.
"We also know that one in five reports of children at significant risk of harm are not being followed up because of critical staff shortages under the O'Farrell Government.
"It is completely unacceptable for a government in 2012 to cut the workers charged with protecting the most vulnerable children in our community when they are already struggling to keep up with cases.
"Cutting caseworkers and refusing to fill staff vacancies means children who are reported as being at risk of harm are simply unable to be followed up on.
"The O'Farrell Government's recent budget projection to have 800 less children in care without any funding to support this can only mean vulnerable children are being left in high risk situations. To budget for fewer children in care without any safety gaps in place is incredibly risky.
"It is tragically children at risk who are paying for the shortfall in the O'Farrell Government's community services budget.
"This tragic case should force the Community Services Minister to immediately scrap her plans to sack 968 workers from child protection services."
Tags: Barry O'Farrell, Barbara Perry, children, community, DOCS, Illawarra, job cuts, jobs