media release

Striking at child protection failure

“When social workers responsible for protecting vulnerable children are forced to take industrial action there is something desperately wrong at the heart of the child protection system” said Shadow Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson.

“The evidence of the dysfunction in the Weatherill Government’s child protection system has been

plain to see for an extended period of time.

“The fact that 26,700 callers failed to get through on the Child Abuse Report Line in one year and those who did were waiting longer than ever is symptomatic of a system at breaking point.

“The Weatherill Government’s failure to adequately fund the Child Abuse Report Line is putting vulnerable children at increased risk of abuse and neglect.

“Little wonder Families SA staff feel the need to take industrial action.

“Given the huge numbers of people hanging up in despair before reporting their concerns the installation of a call back system on the CARL line needs to be an absolute priority.

“The Child Abuse Report Line also needs to staffed by trained social workers.

“An effective child protection system begins with an efficient reporting mechanism.

“A lack of ministerial leadership is a critical element in Families SA repeated failures of policy and process.

“Child protection needs to have a dedicated Minister and be separated from the Department of Education.

“Many of these problems could have been avoided had the Labor Government appointed a Children’s commission as recommended by the Layton Report in 2003.”