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Still Too Many Unanswered Questions on Safe Pathways

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Sunday, 15 January 2017

Tags: Children and Young People, Child Safety, Out of Home Care, Safe Pathways

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

Five months after concerns were first raised with the government about the treatment of vulnerable children in the care of for-profit provider, Safe Pathways, many questions remain unanswered.

While 11 children have been removed from Safe Pathways following scandalous allegations of neglect of children and young people, the organisation is still apparently operating in Tasmania and Tasmanians are being kept in the dark.

Three days before Christmas, Human Services Minister, Jacquie Petrusma, made a brief media statement confirming she had received reports into the care standards of Safe Pathways and the company's financials.

The Minister cited legal reasons for not releasing any further details.  The Greens recognise the need to protect the identity of the children in question but we believe the report into the financials are a matter of significant public interest.  This is particularly the case in light of allegations Safe Pathways received large sums of money, only a fraction of which was allocated to the needs of the 11 children and young people.

Tasmanians still don't know how much public money was paid to Safe Pathways and how much of that was going towards the children and young people placed in the company's care.

On 22 November, the Greens lodged a Right to Information request seeking information on funding paid and any concerns raised.  We are still waiting.  The RTI is almost three weeks overdue.

This simply isn't good enough.  These children and young people are the responsibility of the State, and the State has let them down terribly by outsourcing their care to a for-profit mainland provider which failed to  provide for some of their most basic needs.

Is the Minister trying to cover up her Department's failings and her own?