media release

Offices no place for children to sleep

“I want to know how often this has happened, how many children it has happened to and what the Minister has done to prevent it happening again,” said Shadow Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson.

“Vulnerable children should not be forced to sleep on mattresses in offices because the Weatherill Government has failed to establish an effective after hours emergency care system for children at risk.

“It is disgraceful that after 14 years of promising to end the chaos in child protection the State Labor Government forces children to sleep on government office floors.

“With violence, alcohol and drug abuse more prevalent on the weekend there is an increase in the number of children at risk of neglect and abuse.

“It follows that this is the time children are likely to be removed and offices should be staffed
accordingly with extra help available on call.

“The system needs to be streamlined and integrated so we don’t have children sleeping on floors in offices or motels.

“All NGO’s involved in placing the children should have after hours staff available.

“Agencies must be contacted to ascertain if they have emergency foster carers available.

“Emergency care or residential care should be the very last resort for a child at risk of neglect or
abuse, not a standard option.

“The 73 per cent surge in the costs of emergency accommodation last year points to a child
protection system in crisis and a government that is incapable of solving it.

“Child protection should be removed from the Department of Education so there can be a renewed focus on the best interests of vulnerable child. The establishment of the long delayed Children’s Commissioner, as recommended by the Layton Review in 2003, is another essential reform.”