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Minister Must Explain COVID Child Safety Response

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 6 August 2020

Tags: Child Safety, Children and Young People, COVID-19

Cassy O'Connor | Greens Leader and spokesperson for Children

The Minister for Human Services must explain why vulnerable children were unable to access safe accommodation or key support services through the height of Tasmania’s COVID-19 outbreak.
Data released by Anglicare’s Social Action and Research Centre shows that, despite warnings from child safety staff and the Greens, children in the child safety system were pushed into even more vulnerable, precarious circumstances than normal once COVID-19 restrictions came into effect.
On 20 March, the Greens highlighted concerns of staff in the child protection system, who described the response to COVID-19 as ‘chaotic’ and lacking any direction. We urged the Minister to take these concerns seriously, and to implement a plan to ensure Tasmanian children were not subjected to increased risk.
The data released by Anglicare demonstrates why staff were so concerned, and raises serious questions about whether the Minister ever took meaningful action to address these issues.
Today the Greens have written to Minister Jaensch asking him to clarify whether the government developed a plan to deal with the impact of COVID-19 on the child safety system, and what additional resources, support, and other measures were put in place in this period.
This is extremely worrying. It’s unclear whether the situation has been resolved. The Minister should be open with the community about what action he took to protect and support these vulnerable children, and explain why these measures failed to protect them.