Monday 24 January, 2021

STATEMENT: Quotes attributable to Rikki Hendon, Branch Secretary of the CPSU/CSA


WA’s state child protection caseworkers Union, the CPSU/CSA, has been providing evidence of chronic understaffing to Minister McGurk for over a year.

Throughout 2021, Minister McGurk was repeatedly advised by CPSU/CSA members that the greatest barrier to best practice child protection work in WA is understaffing and the unsafe, unsustainable workloads that arise from it.

In a meeting with the Union in October, the Minister was presented an Issues Paper, highlighting the significant risk understaffing is placing on children with open child protection cases. The Minister is yet to respond.

CPSU/CSA Secretary Rikki Hendon says members are frustrated at the Minister’s inaction and that workplace campaign leaders would be meeting next week to discuss escalating industrial action.

Staff at the Department of Communities are dedicated to working alongside at-risk families to ensure the safety of our state's most vulnerable children, but chronic understaffing is undermining the important work they do.

“Workers carry excessive, unsafe and unsustainable workloads that place them and the vulnerable families and children they work with at risk.”

“Our members have provided critical information to Minister McGurk about the risks of understaffing, and have pleaded for manageable caseloads that enable them to give every child they work with the time, energy and culturally appropriate support they need, but are still waiting for her to act.”

“Child protection workers cannot continue to wait politely for Minister McGurk to take the action necessary to ensure the safety of WA’s most vulnerable children – industrial action is now on the table.”

“We have advised the Minister that, to see any real change for our most at-risk children and families, she must increase the number of staff in child protection by at least 200 FTE as a matter of urgency.”

“Given WA’s strong budget performances, there is no excuse for the Minister not to deliver this in the next State Budget.”


Read the Child Protection and Family Support CPSU/CSA Resourcing Issues Paper - October 2021.