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Child Protection Week 2018: AASW renews its call for greater investment in early intervention and workforce regulation

Published: 31 August 2018

Australian governments must make a significant investment in early intervention services to ensure children and families receive the support they need from skilled and knowledgeable professionals, said the AASW National President Christine Craik on the eve of National Child Protection Week.

“The AASW has consistently argued that governments have a responsibility to create environments that support children, young people and families to substantially reduce the various factors that increase the likelihood of abuse,” said Ms Craik.

"We currently have a situation where state and territory governments across Australia spend only 17 per cent of total child protection funding ($700 million a year) on family support services for children and their families, compared with $3.5 billion on out-of-home care and other crisis interventions.

"The system is punitive and intervenes when it is too late. Furthermore, Indigenous children are 9.8 times more likely to be removed from their family than non-Indigenous children, highlighting the need for early and culturally appropriate supports.

"Improving the distribution of resources and adequately funding appropriate services is an action all governments can immediately take,” said Ms Craik.

The AASW is also calling for greater workforce regulation in the sector.

Ms Craik said, "Child protection is incredibly complex work with some of the most vulnerable children and families in society. That is why greater focus needs to be given to how the workforce is recruited and regulated.

"Coroner and government reports continue to identify failures in the child protection system. This has led to the call for the formal registration of social workers to improve regulation, as we are seeing in South Australia.

"The statutory registration of social workers would be a significant public safety measure and reduce the risks to vulnerable people by assuring education, practice and professional development standards.

“The AASW welcomes the great progress that is being made in South Australia in this regard, including the introduction of legislation in September to formally register all social workers. This is a long overdue development and we continue to campaign for the professional registration of social workers nationwide.

“Most importantly, we believe that this week is a time to raise awareness to the broader community that we all have a role to play in making sure that every child across Australia has a loving and supportive environment in which to meet their full potential."

National Child Protection Week is 2-8 September 2018.

ENDS

AASW National President Christine Craik is available for interview.

Media contact
Angela Yin
Communications Lead
P 03 9320 1005 M 0413 532 954

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers