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Case workers call for action on chronic understaffing

25 February 2013

MEDIA RELEASE
Monday 25 February 2013
Case workers call for action on chronic understaffing
The Public Service Association is calling on the O'Farrell Government to address
chronic child protection case worker vacancies across the state.
Due to lack of staff, case workers are currently only able to visit a tiny fraction of
children considered at serious risk of neglect or violence, said PSA General Secretary
Anne Gardiner.
"The Government must come clean on real case worker vacancy rates in NSW," said
Ms Gardiner.
"Our members report vacancy rates of 40% in some offices in western Sydney and
regional areas, with a state-wide average of around 25%.
"Only about one in ten children assessed to be at serious risk are receiving face-to-face
visits from case workers. It is extremely distressing to child protection workers to know
they are only touching the surface."
Over the weekend, Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward said: "In a
perfect world, every child would be seen every time, but you would need an army."
"This is a dismissive attitude that ignores the contribution of understaffing to
unacceptably low face-to-face visit rates," said Ms Gardiner.
"This government absolutely has the ability to improve the number of face-to-face visits
child protection case workers are able to carry out, by boosting staff numbers.
"So far, it has overseen case worker staffing freezes and announced plans to cut 1000
positions from the department over the next four years.
"We don't need an army - we do need a full contingent of case workers."
Contact: Thane Pearce 0408 223 276 / Jane Garcia 0434 489 533


Contact Details
Thane Pearce
Ph:  02 9220 0900
Fax: 0408 223 276
tpearce@psa.asn.au

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