See More

Coroner's Inquiry should jump start reform

Published: 9 April 2015

The Coronial Inquiry into the tragic and preventable death of Chloe Valentine has highlighted the need for supervision of newly qualified social workers and for social workers to be registered like other professionals dealing with safety critical situations, according to the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW).

‘Working in child protection requires specialist knowledge and a large reservoir of emotional resilience to deal with the high levels of sadness and anxiety. Child protection workers also need skills in managing emotionally charged and sometimes threatening situations,’ said AASW National President, Karen Healy.

The field of child protection is one of the most challenging in social work.

Professor Healy said the Coronial Inquiry into Chloe Valentine’s death has revealed systemic problems in the way child abuse allegations are handled in South Australia and these must be addressed.

‘Sadly for the last 30 years in Australia there have been many similar coronial and commissions of inquiry into avoidable deaths of children. A common thread has been the lack of adequate training and support for front line workers,’ Professor Healy said.

‘The AASW therefore welcomes the recommendation that professional social workers be registered. We have been recommending the registration of social workers to Government for many years without success and now is the time for reform.’

‘Registration would ensure that social workers employed by Families SA meet professional standards of educational preparation and ongoing professional skill development. It would ensure that the safety of children is given first priority.’

Media contact

Emma Pegrum
Media and Marketing Manager
Phone 02 6199 5011 Mobile 0408 200 191

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers