Bunbury Child Protection Workers Strike
Child protection workers in Bunbury will walk off the job this Wednesday 10 August following inadequate action by Minister Simone McGurk and local Member of Parliament Don Punch to address chronic under-resourcing in our state's South West.
CPSU/CSA Branch Secretary Rikki Hendon says this is the second time workers from the district have taken industrial action in recent months.
"Our members have had enough of the Government's failure to properly resource child protection in the South West and are taking stop work action to demand change.
"They are defiant and undeterred by tactics such docking their pay, because their number one priority is securing the staff and resources needed to do best practice work with every at-risk child in the region.
In the South West alone, there are 139.5 open child protection cases that are unable to be allocated to a dedicated caseworker.
— Branch Secretary Rikki Hendon
"Over two thirds of the region's Child Safety Investigations are unable to be completed within the Department's 30-day target timeframe.
"Clearly there is significant need for child protection services that is going unmet, and the consequences are dire.
"Child protection workers are over-stretched and worried that the at-risk children who need their attention and support will fall through the cracks.
"We implore Minister McGurk to dedicate additional staff to the South West to address unsafe workloads, ensure every at-risk child has a dedicated caseworker, and enable best practice work with the most vulnerable members of our community."
Notes on Child Protection Workers
- The "Monitored List" is a list of open child protection cases that are unable to be allocated to a dedicated caseworker.
- An open child protection case can comprise one child or a family of multiple children.
- Figures recently provided to the Union confirm there are over 1000 unallocated child protection cases (1034.5 cases).
Child Safety Investigations:
- A Child Safety Investigation occurs when a child is identified as "at risk" by a family member, school, or other community service.
- The claims are investigated by a child protection worker.
- The longer it takes to takes to complete the investigation, longer a child may be exposed to neglect and/ or abuse.
General duties of a caseworker include:
- Finding safe living arrangements and placements, including foster families, respite care and emergency accommodation if placements breakdown;
- Acting as guardian for day-care or school enrolments, academic or behavioural issues, excursions or school camps.
- Arranging contact between the child and their biological family.
- Approve and often attend medical assessments, treatments and therapies.
- Work with the NDIS to engage any special needs are met;
- Provide assistance for legal issues for the child, including contact with Police, Courts and the Department of Justice.
- General assistance to the families involved for support services.