Chloe Valentine’s tragic anniversary

“With the Weatherill Government finally accepting Liberal amendments that will ensure if Families SA suspects that a child is at risk as a result of drug abuse by a parent, Families SA must apply to the Youth Court for a drug assessment. It’s time for the legislation to pass,” said Shadow Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson.

“For almost a year the Weatherill Government resisted Liberal amendments based on the Coroner’s concerns that Families SA implicitly endorsed Ashlee Polkinghorne’s drug abuse and this contributed to Chloe’s death.

“This amendment puts protection of the child at the centre of the legislation, and had it been in place when Chloe was born, she may be alive today.

“The threatened strike by Families SA employees highlights that legislative change is just one aspect of a broken child protection system desperately in need of systemic reform.

“12 months ago the Coroner described Families SA as ‘broken and fundamentally flawed’ and that description is as accurate today as it was then.

“Morale is clearly at rock bottom with the continual churn of staff highlighting ongoing ministerial failure.

“We still have a situation where many reports of child abuse and neglect are never followed up despite being in breach of the Government’s own guidelines.

“At last report the eCarl reporting system had a six week backlog and the cumulative impact of child abuse is still not properly accounted for.

“Until child protection is removed from the Department of Education the systemic failure of a broken system will continue.

“Jay Weatherill needs to put the interests of vulnerable children before his political pride.”