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Jaensch Fails to Rule Out Child Safety Cuts


Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 20 August 2020

Tags: Child Safety, Children, Vulnerable Children, Ministerial Accountability

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Human Services spokesperson

The Minister for Human Services failed to answer important questions about cuts to Child Safety Services in State Parliament today. 
 
The impact an underfunded child safety system has on those it’s designed to protect are too often tragic and terrible. Next week, a coronial inquest will begin into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of six babies and young children who were known to Child Safety Services. 
 
Since the Liberals came to government, the child protection system in Tasmania has been mismanaged, and at-risk children have suffered the consequences. 
 
Despite many documented failings, there has been a consistent refusal to provide the secure funding needed to keep children safe. 
 
Despite their track record, it seems the Liberals have not learned their lesson. A leaked email to CSS staff identified plans to cut critical support programs in the child safety system. 
 
When asked about these cuts in Parliament today, Minister Jaensch refused to address the question, and instead simply read a script of previously announced funding for programs that were irrelevant to the issue. 
 
This is an unacceptable response for a Minister of the Crown. 
 
The fact is, child protection staff have been told requests for support such as private therapy, mentoring, and independent family assessments may not be met. It also instructs them to ‘manage expectations’ of those in the system about what help they might be able to access. 
 
This is shameful and short-sighted. These services might be ‘high cost’, but they are critical for the safety and wellbeing of Tasmania’s at-risk children. 
 
The Minister must get on top of his portfolio, urgently reverse these saving measures, and instead invest properly in looking after Tasmania’s most vulnerable children.