Friday, 2 September 2022
STATEMENT: Quotes attributable to Rikki Hendon, Branch Secretary of the CPSU/CSA
CHILD PROTECTION WORKERS TAKING DEPARTMENT TO THE WAIRC
Child Protection workers will today walk into the WA Industrial Relations Commission citing excessive workloads and multiple breaches of their workload orders.
CPSU/CSA Secretary Rikki Hendon says after multiple strike actions, discussions with the Department of Communities’ leadership and meetings with Minister for Child Protection, Simone McGurk, taking this dispute to the Commission has been a long time coming.
“Our child protection members have told the Department repeatedly that they are dangerously overloaded with cases, which puts the vulnerable children they work with at risk, but have not seen their employer take the necessary action to remedy this.
“We’ve identified non-compliance with the system that the Commission itself put in place to ensure safe and sustainable caseloads as a major contributor to this problem, yet the Department has continued to allow breaches to occur.
“This year, there have been 612 reported cases of child protection workloads exceeding the limit of 15 cases, a limit that can only be exceeded in “exceptional circumstances”.
“Of greater concern is that the absolute limit of 18 cases has been breached at least 85 times, in the same period.
“In light of these serious and ongoing breaches, child protection workers have no choice but to take the Department of Communities to the Commission.
“The Department relies on the good-heartedness of its workers to go above and beyond for children in their care, but dangerous workloads are fuelling burnout and high levels of staff vacancy, and deepening the existing under-staffing crisis in child protection.
“Modernising the system to properly account for the complexity and demands of child protection work today, ensuring it is complied with, and properly resourcing it are all critical to ensuring WA’s most vulnerable families and children receive the attention and support they need.”
Learn more about the Every Child Counts campaign: https://www.cpsucsa.org/everychildcounts