The ACT Government will establish a group home and reception centre to minimise the disruption for children being placed in emergency out-of-home care, introduce a new decision-making review panel for decisions about children and carers, and negotiate a pay bonus to aid retention of frontline care and protection workers as part of its response to the Public Advocate’s recent report into emergency residential placements of children.
ACT Minister for Community Services Joy Burch today released the Government’s response to the Public Advocate report, which looked at a number of out-of-home care residential placements with a particular service provider.
Ms Burch said the Government had agreed with most of the Public Advocate’s recommendations, and a number of reforms would be implemented to address areas of concern identified in the report.
We await the Liberal response with great interest.
UPDATE: In advance of a full release we have this from the Liberals’ Vicki Dunne.
“Joy Burch’s response to her abject failing of vulnerable children is far too little, too late and doesn’t address the real problem.
“The fact remains that under her guidance, children were placed in accommodation with no beds, no hot water, no heating, and broken glass on the floor and no amount of self-exoneration will change this.”
FURTHER UPDATE: A fiesty Joy Burch is now calling for an apology by Vicky Dunne for allegedly taking protection workers to work:
ACT Minister for Community Services Joy Burch called on Mrs Dunne to apologise to the care and protection workers whom she slandered today in a cowardly attack that she then tried to deny.
Mrs Dunne today described the Government’s response to the Public Advocate’s report as:
“This is not a Government response, this is a cover-up of unconscionable
behaviour by care and protection officers.”
– Vicki Dunne, press conference, 21 November 2011
Ms Dunne then tried to deny she had made this accusation when pulled up by a journalist.
Ms Burch said this was the latest in a series of attacks on frontline care and protection staff who worked in challenging circumstances to protect vulnerable children.
“I have met with the frontline workers and they have shared their distress at the unfair criticism Mrs Dunne has levelled at them in recent weeks, particularly because they do not have an opportunity to publicly defend themselves,” Ms Burch said.