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Children? You want me to deal with children? The caseworkers lament

By johnboy - 24 November 2011 31

The Liberals’ Vicki Dunne has brought more bad news on the child protection front:

Fifty nine per cent of young people in out-of-home care may not have been physically sighted by their caseworkers in a year, the ACT Public Advocate highlighted yesterday in an Assembly Committee Annual Reports hearing.

“During 2010-11, the Public Advocate examined 371 annual review reports of young people in the Community Services Directorate’s out-of home care,” ACT Shadow Community Services Minister Vicki Dunne said today.

“Of those, 120 (32 per cent) showed no evidence that child protection caseworkers actually sighted the children or young people they were responsible for.

“A further 98 (27 per cent) indicated there had been consultation, which could mean a phone call to the foster agency or a kinship carer, but again no evidence that the young person was physically sighted.

“Only 153 files (41 per cent) showed clear evidence that the caseworkers had seen the young person.

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31 Responses to
Children? You want me to deal with children? The caseworkers lament
whitelaughter 1:04 am 27 Nov 11

Violet68 said :

If these workers are true to their ethical values and truly dedicated to the protection of children, then they could agitate for change, challenge the system and report unethical behaviour – instead they choose to work FOR and promote a system that generally removes children rather than assisting families to remain together with adequate supports.

How?
If they work within the system, then their suggestions, complaints and lobbying will be carefully filed – and ignored.
If they go to the press, minister, audit, then they’ll get the full force of their superiors displeasure, up to and including being hit with the Official Secrets Act.

I spent years trying to get some absolute basic legal requirements implemented in an area I was in (as in, each person having their own log on to the computer system, needing a 2nd worker to confirm the write off of debts, a paper trail) and a year later gave up.

If anyone has ever successfully forced ACT Admin to even obey the law, I’m surprised/impressed/would like to know more. Actually requiring professional work? Is laughable.

Violet68 11:57 pm 26 Nov 11

milkman said :

Jethro said :

Violet68 said :

If these workers are true to their ethical values and truly dedicated to the protection of children, then they could agitate for change, challenge the system and report unethical behaviour – instead they choose to work FOR and promote a system that generally removes children rather than assisting families to remain together with adequate supports. I don’t give a sh*t about the workers who collect over 65k per year and have no regard for the fact they will only be in these children’s lives for a very short term.

The biggest problem with the system is that it is too reluctant to remove kids.

Get in early and take them away.

Don’t give them back.

There are plenty of loving people unable to have children who would love to adopt a child and who would provide the child with a far better life than it could ever expect from its drug addicted, violent, criminal parents.

The absolute truth. Scum shouldn’t be raising children.

“Scum” is a relative term.

milkman 9:35 pm 26 Nov 11

Jethro said :

Violet68 said :

If these workers are true to their ethical values and truly dedicated to the protection of children, then they could agitate for change, challenge the system and report unethical behaviour – instead they choose to work FOR and promote a system that generally removes children rather than assisting families to remain together with adequate supports. I don’t give a sh*t about the workers who collect over 65k per year and have no regard for the fact they will only be in these children’s lives for a very short term.

The biggest problem with the system is that it is too reluctant to remove kids.

Get in early and take them away.

Don’t give them back.

There are plenty of loving people unable to have children who would love to adopt a child and who would provide the child with a far better life than it could ever expect from its drug addicted, violent, criminal parents.

The absolute truth. Scum shouldn’t be raising children.

Jethro 5:30 pm 26 Nov 11

Violet68 said :

If these workers are true to their ethical values and truly dedicated to the protection of children, then they could agitate for change, challenge the system and report unethical behaviour – instead they choose to work FOR and promote a system that generally removes children rather than assisting families to remain together with adequate supports. I don’t give a sh*t about the workers who collect over 65k per year and have no regard for the fact they will only be in these children’s lives for a very short term.

The biggest problem with the system is that it is too reluctant to remove kids.

Get in early and take them away.

Don’t give them back.

There are plenty of loving people unable to have children who would love to adopt a child and who would provide the child with a far better life than it could ever expect from its drug addicted, violent, criminal parents.

Violet68 11:59 am 26 Nov 11

milkman said :

Lissy said :

These case workers have one of the hardest jobs imaginable. Trauma and abuse day after day, massive case loads and having to put off day to day work to respond to those on their case loads who fall into crisis, with no time to visit or see children who are in a stable placement.

There is no doubt that this is not good enough, vulnerable children deserve so much better than that – but before judging the workers on the ground, do their job for a week.

I have nothing but admiration for the case workers, they do a job most of us couldn’t. How about we remove the layer above them and replace it with some people who are smart, competant and support their case workers to an appropriate level?

You obviously haven’t been a client of the service or had to deal with the workers there.

milkman 12:01 am 26 Nov 11

Lissy said :

These case workers have one of the hardest jobs imaginable. Trauma and abuse day after day, massive case loads and having to put off day to day work to respond to those on their case loads who fall into crisis, with no time to visit or see children who are in a stable placement.

There is no doubt that this is not good enough, vulnerable children deserve so much better than that – but before judging the workers on the ground, do their job for a week.

I have nothing but admiration for the case workers, they do a job most of us couldn’t. How about we remove the layer above them and replace it with some people who are smart, competant and support their case workers to an appropriate level?

Violet68 11:15 pm 25 Nov 11

Lissy said :

These case workers have one of the hardest jobs imaginable. Trauma and abuse day after day, massive case loads and having to put off day to day work to respond to those on their case loads who fall into crisis, with no time to visit or see children who are in a stable placement.

There is no doubt that this is not good enough, vulnerable children deserve so much better than that – but before judging the workers on the ground, do their job for a week.

If these workers are true to their ethical values and truly dedicated to the protection of children, then they could agitate for change, challenge the system and report unethical behaviour – instead they choose to work FOR and promote a system that generally removes children rather than assisting families to remain together with adequate supports. I don’t give a sh*t about the workers who collect over 65k per year and have no regard for the fact they will only be in these children’s lives for a very short term.

Then there are the workers who are recruited from overseas, paid relocation costs etc to work in a community they have absolutely no experience or understanding of eg. the distance and time it takes to travel by bus from Tuggeranong to Belconnen and how that may impact on a young parent with post natal depression and four children under 5yrs. An all expense paid move from the cold North to sunny Australia at the expense of disadvantaged children…..

Perhaps they wouldn’t have such large caseloads if they actually got real and worked on keeping families together? Wow, then they could actually cut court costs, stop paying the “expert” they so very much prefer or the “care providers” they favour…..hmmmmm wouldn’t that upset the apple cart.

justin heywood 10:29 pm 25 Nov 11

milkman said :

…..Time to sack the executive management and get some people in who will actually get the job done.

Oh I’m sure the job is done from their perspective. Meetings held, budget spent, conferences attended, reports written, much good coffee drunk.

The children? Oh yes, we have solved that problem. Haven’t you read our new strategic plan/mission statement/corporate strategy? Going forward we plan to engage with our stakeholders and workshop this issue to establish the parameters of the key drivers behind the disconnect between the public expectation that the most vulnerable in our society will be protected and the ….bugger it. I’ll have someone write a report. You’ll have it next week. Probably.

Thumper 10:26 pm 25 Nov 11

Lissy said :

These case workers have one of the hardest jobs imaginable. Trauma and abuse day after day, massive case loads and having to put off day to day work to respond to those on their case loads who fall into crisis, with no time to visit or see children who are in a stable placement.

There is no doubt that this is not good enough, vulnerable children deserve so much better than that – but before judging the workers on the ground, do their job for a week.

I don’t have a problem with the workers, but I have a huge problem with this government who talk the talk but massively fail on delivery.

Thumper 10:11 pm 25 Nov 11

milkman said :

It’s a bloody disgrace, really. We pay people to do this job, and what do we get?

Time to sack the executive management and get some people in who will actually get the job done.

Yes, it is completely disgraceful. Utterly and completely.

Lissy 9:59 pm 25 Nov 11

These case workers have one of the hardest jobs imaginable. Trauma and abuse day after day, massive case loads and having to put off day to day work to respond to those on their case loads who fall into crisis, with no time to visit or see children who are in a stable placement.

There is no doubt that this is not good enough, vulnerable children deserve so much better than that – but before judging the workers on the ground, do their job for a week.

milkman 9:11 pm 25 Nov 11

It’s a bloody disgrace, really. We pay people to do this job, and what do we get?

Time to sack the executive management and get some people in who will actually get the job done.

Thumper 8:01 pm 25 Nov 11

Joy Burch is not really doing a very good job with this portfolio is she.

One could even suggest the word incompetent.

Mumbucks 7:59 pm 25 Nov 11

I agree with you. When you read about these issues affecting the most vulnerable children in town it certainly makes you rethink what you winge or don’t winge about. I hope these concerns alert the caseworkers and particularly those higher up to pay attention to their core business children and caring for them!

poetix 5:23 pm 25 Nov 11

How would one of these children or young people in care have the chance to report any problems they might be experiencing, let alone any abuse? A year might seem an eternity to a child in a bad situation. It is unacceptable that they are literally unseen by those with specific responsibility for them.

All the posters (like me) who’ve been arguing about the need for child-friendly restaurants or the best playgrounds in Canberra should spare a thought for these voiceless kids.

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