The needs of the state’s most vulnerable children and families will not be met by the Coalition’s meager $18 million per annum funding increase into the NSW child protection system.
The Parliamentary Inquiry into Child Protection released a report this year finding systemic failings in the child protection system and demanding a significant funding injection focussed on supporting children and keeping families together.
Today’s announcement of $63 million over the next five years represents less than 1% of FACS’ annual budget.
Greens MP and Child Protection Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“The Coalition’s budget announcement will not even touch the sides of the deep systemic failings in the NSW child protection system.
“The system doesn’t need a few extra care workers, it needs a fundamental change in focus to early intervention
“The state’s most vulnerable children need help before they suffer abuse and neglect.
“This requires hundreds of millions in early intervention programs sustained over years and that’s the challenge Minister Goward has failed.
“Investment in early intervention was the central recommendation of the recent Parliamentary Inquiry into Child Protection.
“Once early intervention and support begins to work and keep more children in safe homes, existing resources can be switched from crisis management to evidence based early intervention. Done well this can become a virtuous cycle.
“Proper investment must also be coupled with legislative reforms to ensure that the system shifts its focus away from forced removals .
“Currently the courts are removing children based upon a flawed legal test that looks only at the risks of a child remaining in their home and ignores the known damage caused by child removals.
“The system is currently delivering entrenched intergenerational dysfunction and it is our responsibility to fix this.
“With the budget soon approaching it is time the Coalition realised that investing in families and children as every bit as important, if not more so, than investment in roads, railways and hospitals.” Mr Shoebridge said.