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Child Protection - Total Support Services

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 24 May 2018

Tags: Child Safety, Safe Pathways


Can you confirm the details of an alarming allegation of failures in duty of care of another for-profit provider your Government has handed the care of highly vulnerable children over to? The allegation made by both a social worker and a departmental source is that Total Support Services is exposing children with disabilities who are on care and protection orders to inappropriate discipline resulting in escalating behaviours that had contributed to the hospitalisation of a teenager in its care. As you know, minister, this follows the scandal surrounding another for-profit provider, Safe Pathways. We now know the former manager of Safe Pathways is working with Total Support Services.

In your previous answer you said 'full investigations have been undertaken' - correct me if I have misheard that. What is the result of that investigation? How many vulnerable children are with Total Support Services and why is your department still contracting for-profit providers to care for at risk young people?


Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her questions, which started with, 'Can I provide the details of allegations of abuse?'

Ms O'Connor - Can you confirm the details.

Mr JAENSCH - Can I confirm the details of allegations of abuse of children in care? I can confirm that I have heard reported allegations relating to a provider of care. It has been in the -

Ms O'Connor - You said there was a briefing, a full investigation had been undertaken.

Madam SPEAKER - Order, it is a very serious issue.

Mr JAENSCH - media today. What I referred to earlier is that I am advised there has previously been care concerns raised, investigated and dealt with regarding Total Support Services, which did not result in children being removed from their care. I am happy to seek confirmation from my department and to correct that response if it is in error. Today, with media reports of allegations of other cases of abuse or concerns raised, I do not know the details of the cases that have been reported in the media beyond what I have heard in the media.

I urge anyone who has information that goes to the safety and wellbeing of children in care, or whose welfare needs investigation, to provide as much information as they can to the appropriate authorities as soon as possible.

The member stood up and asked me to provide details of the reported allegations -

Ms O'Connor - Confirm.

Mr JAENSCH - I cannot at this point confirm the details of those allegations. I will reiterate I will not be commenting on the details of individual circumstances or investigations in this place.