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Initial response to final SA Child Protection Royal Commission report

Published: 15 August 2016

While it continues to consider the 260 recommendations of the final report South Australian Child Protection Royal Commission, the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) has endorsed some of its key findings. These include the findings that relate to the developing and maintaining of a child protection department environment that supports and nurtures its staff to allow good decision making.

The AASW also supports Commissioner Nyland’s recognition of the child protection system as one that is made up of interconnecting parts which must be addressed for children to be better served and protected by the state.

Currently, the AASW endorses the following recommendations:

  • Support for the professional knowledge and expertise of the caseworker who is in direct contact with the child and family and has a relationship with them, to make professional decisions most appropriate to the situation.
  • Enabling decision making about case plans and actions to occur at the closest possible level to the child.
  • The implementation of a structure that reduces the hierarchies between leadership and front line workers.
  • The requirement that any staff holding a caseload be degree qualified.
  • Investment in clinical management, supervision and practice improvement including the development of an ongoing supervision framework.
  • Professional development requirements, opportunities and resourcing, including adopting a professional development reimbursement program modelled on that operating in SA Health.
  • The appointment of a Chief Executive with recognised credibility in child protection work to lead an organisation where professional knowledge and skill are valued, nurtured and retained.

Giving professionals more decision making power at the local level would require the commensurate professional accountability and continuing professional development processes integral to professional registration. With this in mind, the AASW will continue to campaign for registration of the profession and for qualified social workers to be the primary workforce for child protection.

For more information, or to organise an interview, please contact Emma Pegrum, Media and Communications Manager, on 02 6199 5011 or 0408 200 191.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers