Open discussion key to a better child protection system
Published: 7 January 2015
Employees of Families SA should be openly encouraged to make submissions to the Royal Commission, according to The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW).
In an open letter to Chief Executive of the Department for Education and Child Development Tony Harrison, the AASW called for a public statement giving permission and encouragement to Families SA staff to make submissions to the Commission, with public assurance that they will not be penalised in any way for doing so.
The AASW understands that child protection decisions are complex and require careful and professional assessment, and supports Families SA in making decisions from time to time which are unpopular.
However, the child protection system in SA needs to be reviewed. The recent Coronial enquiries, foster parent’s concerns voiced in the press and the hours of waiting on the child abuse report line to voice a concern about a child, are examples of the most recent issues.
”An open discussion is the best way for the community and the Government to understand the issues surrounding child protection. It would also enable the Royal Commission to make instructive recommendations and continue collaborative evolution of relevant systems,” South Australian Branch President of the AASW Dr Mary Hood said today.
The AASW represents professionally trained social workers, many of whom are key professionals working in the child protection sector.