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A Critical time for Tasmania's Children

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Tags: Child Safety, Children and Young People, Young People

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens spokesperson for Children and Young People

Tasmania's child safety workers are at the absolute front line of protecting children from abuse and neglect, yet they remain chronically overworked and under-resourced despite the Liberals' promises.

If we are, as a community, to make Tasmania the safest state in Australia for children, the system designed to protect them must also look after frontline workers in child safety and family support.

The latest available figures from the Department of Health and Human Services figures are shocking. Under the Liberals, the number of children yet to be allocated a case worker has quadrupled to a daily average of more than 65.

Investigation outcomes determined within 28 days declined from 34.7% to 19.7%, and the percentage of children with approved case plans declined from 68.3% to 55.2%.

When child safety workers are carrying such heavy caseloads in an under-resourced system, children have, and will inevitably again, fall through the cracks.

The reform agenda outlined by the Minister has the Greens' support, but progress must increase dramatically to prevent putting children and young people at further risk.

So too the flow of increased funding and resources to support child safety and family support workers in their vital roles.

These challenges reinforce how critical it is to have an independent, well resourced Commissioner for Children and Young People in Tasmania.

We welcome the appointment of Mr David Clements as interim Commissioner.

David Clements is highly regarded in the community sector and across all sides of politics.

His long standing work in the disability sector is testament to his capacity to represent vulnerable Tasmanians.

We also trust Mr Clements is empowered to be a strong, clear voice for young Tasmanians without the sort of political interference that marked the outgoing Commissioner's time in the position.