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Slow, Systemic Reforms Won't Fix Systemic Under-funding of Child Protection

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Tags: Children and Young People, Child Safety, Health

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

Tasmanian children and young people are being let down day after day, and being put at risk of lifelong trauma and social issues as a result of persistent under-resourcing by the Hodgman Liberal Government.

The new leaked figures of unallocated cases and a fourfold increase in the number of at-risk children are startling, but just the latest in a line of unacceptable statistics revealing systemic underfunding of child protection.

The Liberals have been in government for five years and in that time, the wellbeing of at-risk children and young people appears, on the evidence, to be getting worse by the day.

While government neglect of these young Tasmanians will cause lifelong harm, from a purely financial perspective, each child we let down today is going to create a lifetime of significant costs to society and the public purse.

The lesson here is clear - systemic reforms won’t fix systemic underfunding.

The current reforms are a positive step forward but they have dragged on and not been matched by the necessary funding and staff support.

The reforms to child protection won’t go anywhere near addressing issues that are caused by a workforce in Child Safety Services that is not anywhere close to big enough to deal with caseloads.

Small injections of funding on an ad-hoc basis just won’t cut the mustard. It is abundantly clear the Liberals need to examine their priorities and put the needs of young Tasmanians at the top of their priorities.

Children are Tasmania’s future.  They are worth every cent we invest in their health and wellbeing. The Liberals have been too slow to understand this and the consequence is more children and young people at risk.

As a society, we can and must do better by these young Tasmanians.