Media Release: ‘Cheap Shots’ Unhelpful on Vexed Issue of Child Protection

The Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) has expressed dismay over claims by the Public Service Association (PSA) of an apparent ‘crisis’ within NSW child protection services.

Acting Deputy CEO Dr Wendy Foote said while the union reports of young children being forced to sleep on the floors of government offices are deeply concerning, they certainly do not equate to a system that is in ‘crisis’.

“We acknowledge that NSW needs more foster carers to support a range of care, including emergency placements,” Dr Foote said.

“However from our in-depth understanding of the system, cases like this are an exception and, when they do happen, the reasons behind them are defensible and in the interests of the children themselves. They certainly do not represent the full picture of what is happening within NSW’s child protection system, which is currently in the midst of a large-scale reform agenda focused on providing better care and better outcomes for children, young people and their families.

“The PSA has raised a pertinent issue but then proceeded to draw an erroneous conclusion that does little to progress the goal of developing a coherent all-encompassing child wellbeing system that works in the best interests of vulnerable children and families.

“It is easy to be critical – far more difficult to provide solutions of substance.

“Child protection that seeks long term solutions for our most vulnerable is a vexed issue facing all western democracies, and cheap shots do not form part of that solution.”

Dr Foote also pointed out that PSA claims of falling caseworker numbers fail to take into account the fact that many of these positions now rest with the non-government sector.

The Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies is the New South Wales peak body representing non-government organisations which provide services to vulnerable children, young people and their families.


Media enquiries: Libby McCalman 0418 659 525