New South Wales Shadow Minister for Community Services Pru Goward
Government Slashes Investigatory Powers – Takes All The Soft Options
Victor P Taffa
Shadow Minister for Community Services Pru Goward today condemned the Keneally Labor Government’s 2010/11 Budget for cutting funds to the areas of child protection where it is most needed and for refusing to do the hard yards in Child Protection.
The budget will damage both the investigatory capabilities of Community Services and its early intervention and prevention services.
“The ratio of children in Out Of Home Care (OOHC) in NSW has increased year after year. In 2006 it was 6.7 children out of every 1,000, it is now 10.2. It is almost certain that it will rise again this year.” Ms. Goward said.
“This increase will not stop until the Keneally Labor Government begins to do the hard yards and link families at risk with the vital services they need to remain a viable family.”
“Our rate is substantially higher than any other Australian jurisdiction. The price borne by the children of this state who have been unnecessarily removed is incalculable.” Ms. Goward said.
“Whilst OOHC expenditure blows out, other areas are suffering, like statutory child protection funding, which has dropped by $12.7 M.”
“The Wood Commission recognised Community Services was already failing to meet its statutory obligations when it came to investigating reports of children at risk-of-harm, now we see the Keneally Labor Government slashing this capability further.”
“Wood found that only 13% of reports to DoCS were investigated face-to-face. By cutting their protection budget the Keneally Labor Government seems determined to reduce its investigations even further.” Ms. Goward said.
“It has been shown time and time again that the best way to fix a family is to work with them and link them up with the services they need. Not to take the simple option of just removing children.”
“No one except Minister Burney would seriously believe that more than 1% of NSW families need to be torn apart. However, this just continues the Minister’s history and shows why she was so keen to immediately oppose my mandatory care contracts Bill that would have forced the department to give more attention to the needs of families in crisis.” Ms. Goward said.