The Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward is presiding over a culture of secrecy for her repeated failure to release data on the number of children at risk of significant harm.
It has been almost a year since the FACS dashboard has been updated with the most recent figures.
The most recent figures date back to September 2017 and were released last December. The Dashboard traditionally keeps the public informed of the number of children reported to FACS – including children at risk of significant harm and the percentage of face to face assessments with caseworkers.
Yet the public are still in the dark, despite assurances during Budget Estimates earlier this month that the new data would be published within a matter of weeks.
Between 1 October 2016 and 30 September 2017 there were 158,961 substantiated reports made to the FACS child protection helpline; of those, 87,885 of those reports met the threshold of the child or children being at risk of serious harm (ROSH). Only 32 per cent of those children (28,122 children) received a face to face interview, with almost 60,000 children at risk of significant harm unseen by a case worker.
With no recent data available, it’s unclear how many children are at risk of significant harm and how many are yet to be seen by a caseworker. It is yet another example of the State Government’s mismanagement of this portfolio.
The Minister’s failure to release data comes in the wake of the Liberal-National Government being forced to reveal the hidden David Tune Review into Out-of-Home Care, which produced damning findings into the shortcomings of the child protection system, confirming the current system has delivered poorer outcomes for vulnerable children.
The review concluded that, overall, the current NSW system is ineffective and unsustainable.
it’s time for change!
The Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services, Tania Mihailuk MP says:
“The Minister hid the Tune’s findings and recommendations for two years and is now failing to release critical data around vulnerable children.
“The safety and well-being of our children is paramount – Minister Goward must release the latest ROSH reports and end the constant veil of secrecy”.
“Hiding behind a cloak of secrecy coupled with years of funding and staff cuts has only served to further compromise the lives of so many vulnerable children making it abundantly clear that child protection is not a priority for the Berejiklian Government.”
“Why is this Government so adamant to keep a constant veil of secrecy when it comes to child protection in this state?