A cut in the Weatherill Government’s child protection budget will be subject to intense scrutiny when the Minister for Education and Child Development Susan Close appears before the Parliamentary Estimates Committee today.
“Given the rolling crisis that has engulfed child protection it beggars belief the Weatherill Government is actually planning to cut the amount of money it spends on protecting the most vulnerable children in our community,” said Shadow Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson.
“I will also be focusing on the fact the number of investigations of child abuse and the number of substantiations of child abuse both fell in the last financial year.
“Nobody believes there has been a substantial drop in child abuse and neglect in South Australia in the past year.
“Yet the State Budget papers show an 11 per cent drop in child abuse investigations and a 12 per cent fall in substantiations of child abuse in 2015-16 when compared to 2014-15.
“The shocking reality is that an understaffed, overstretched and demoralised Families SA agency simply lacks the capacity to properly investigate the reports of abuse and neglect it receives.
“The State Liberals are calling for the recruitment of more frontline child protection staff to be the priority.
“The fact this drop in child abuse investigations came after the courtroom revelations about the abuse of Chloe Valentine is totally disgraceful.
“Jay Weatherill must give Families SA the resources it needs to properly protect vulnerable children from abuse and neglect.
“Anything less than a fully staffed child protection agency is totally unacceptable.”