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Childcare, Government NSW


PSA 2 mins read

What: Child protection workers hold protest


When: 12.30


Where: 7-11 Bridge Street Coniston, Wollongong


Why: Child protection workers protest unacceptable risk to child safety in the Illawarra


Contact: 0405 285 547


Relevant Press Release: 


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


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


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


Only one in four kids reported to child protection services in the Illawarra 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 for the quarter ending December 2023, 8,908 Children and Young People were reported as at ROSH in the Illawarra with only 2,006 children seen - that is 23% of all ROSH reports.


Child protection caseworkers report chronic understaffing and staff burnout.


One in ten child protection caseworker positions are unfilled in the Illawarra. 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 relatively inexperienced and 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.


Earlier this month child protection caseworkers declared the child protection system is now in crisis in New South Wales, and announced the commencement of an industrial campaign to force the NSW government to act to save thousands of at-risk kids from further harm. 


The Public Service Association (PSA), which represents the workers, says action will commence with a series of rolling campaign rallies across the state and escalate as necessary.


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 Illawarra are at risk of serious harm, or even worse, because child protection caseworkers are chronically understaffed, exhausted and management just aren’t listening to their concerns,” 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 new 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 those in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven 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 the Wollongong Community Services Centre (7-11 Bridge Street Coniston) today [Wednesday the 1st of May (May Day)] at 12.30pm.


Contact: 0405 285 547

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