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Survey Shows Child Safety Staff Under Enormous Strain

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Saturday, 20 March 2021

Tags: Child Safety, Public Service

The recently released results of a Community and Public Sector Union survey of staff in the child safety system are disturbing, and must be addressed by Human Services Minister, Roger Jaensch. 

The survey collated responses from staff working in the Child Safety Service and the Advice and Referral Line. The results show 62% of respondents considered the training and mentoring of new staff to be inadequate, 63% of staff were regularly stressed or overwhelmed at work (with 45% identifying workload as the biggest factor in stress), and only 14% of staff believe the risks of psychosocial hazards and vicarious trauma were being managed well. 

This overwhelmingly negative staff feedback would be troubling in any workplace, but it’s particularly worrying when these staff are tasked with the care of our state’s most at-risk children.

Inadequate training inevitably puts children at greater risk of falling through the cracks, or not getting the care they need. This is only exacerbated by excessive workloads, as staff simply aren’t given the time they need to give proper attention to every child and family in crisis.

When people are dealing with a massive, complex, and difficult workload, and aren’t supported with the training to manage it, or the mental health support they need, it’s a recipe for poor outcomes for all. No wonder staff turnover is a problem. 

These results are yet another sign of a system under increasingly intense pressure due to lack of resourcing under the Liberals. 

Minister Roger Jaensch can’t ignore the issues any long. The CPSU have offered him a meeting to discuss solutions. We strongly urge the Minister to take up this offer, and to approach all recommendations with an open mind and a willingness to increase resourcing