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Childcare, Government NSW


PSA 2 mins read

What: Child protection caseworkers hold protest


When: 12.30pm, Wednesday 8th of May


Where: 25-27 Tompson Street, Wagga Wagga


Why: Child protection workers walk off the job over child safety across NSW 


Relevant Press Release: 


Child protection workers walk off the job over child safety in the Riverina


Child protection caseworkers will stop work and protest outside the Community Services Centre in Wagga Wagga today at 12.30pm over unacceptable risk to child safety in the Riverina.


Child protection caseworkers say there is a crisis in child protection.


Only one in four kids reported to child protection services as at risk of serious harm (ROSH) are being seen by a child protection caseworker.


Right now if cases are allocated they are the most serious and will likely lead to removals, as there simply isn’t enough staff to intervene early so as to keep children with their families. 


The department’s own data shows last year, 15,950 Children and Young People were reported as at ROSH in the Far West, Murrumbidgee and Western NSW districts with only 3,532 of them seen - that is 22% of all ROSH reports.


Child protection caseworkers report chronic understaffing and staff burnout.


Over one in ten child protection caseworker positions are unfilled in the Far West, Murrumbidgee and Western NSW districts. But the vacancy rate on any given day is as high as one in five, often more.


The child protection caseworkers that are left are coping with the extra workload of colleagues who have left.


One in two child protection caseworkers leave in their first two years of employment with the department.


The Public Service Association of NSW (PSA), which represents the workers, says today’s action is just the start and action will escalate into rolling campaign rallies across the state if the Government doesn’t implement drastic measures.


Child protection caseworkers are demanding Minister Kate Washington and the Minns Government immediately:  


- Recruit another 500 caseworkers

- Give caseworkers an immediate and substantial pay rise 

- De-privatise foster care


Premier Chris Minns needs to intervene, said PSA General Secretary Stewart Little.


“The most vulnerable children in the Riverina are at risk of serious harm, or even worse, because child protection caseworkers are chronically understaffed and exhausted,” said Mr Little.


Child protection workers are now concerned that by exposing vulnerable children to a broken system they may suffer even more harm.


“Chris Minns needs to immediately onboard another 500 child protection caseworkers to address the attraction and retention crisis in child protection, otherwise the system will collapse.


“To be fair the current NSW government didn’t create this mess but it’s up to them to fix it.


Child protection caseworkers are passionate about their work, and they want the people of the Riverina to know no urgent child protection responses will be impacted during their protest, and that skeleton staffing will be maintained at all times during this protest.


“But they feel they have to do something as management just aren’t listening to their concerns,” said Mr Little.


Child Protection caseworkers will walk off the job and protest outside Community Services Centres across the state, Wagga Wagga media are welcome to attend the protest at Wagga Wagga CSC, (25-27 Tompson Street, Wagga Wagga NSW 2650) today at 12.30pm.


Contact: Tim Brunero 0405 285 547

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