10 May, 2018
VICTORIA'S child-protection workers are being spat on and face increasing violence according to a new report which says $1.4 billion is needed to boost the workforce and reduce staff stress, as the system hits crisis point.
There's an ongoing battle in the child-protection sphere with workers inundated with skyrocketing caseloads and aggressive clients, a Victorian Auditor General report has revealed.
A rising number of staff have filed WorkCover claims citing severe stress as a result of job pressures.
The report calls for $352 million, each year, for four years, to fix the problem.
The report tabled in the Victorian Parliament today said the Department of Health and Human Services "is not meeting its obligation to ensure that (child protection practitioners) are maintaining good mental health."
"CPPs explained that harassment such as being cursed or spat at was something that they 'just had to put with'.
"Victoria's child-protection program is widely acknowledged as 'stretched beyond its capacity'. "The primary risk affecting CPPs' management of their mental health is unreasonable workloads. DHHS's assessment of the CPP workforce is that it needs to be about double its current size in order to return workloads to sustainable levels."
Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos said the Andrews Government was addressing the issue.
"We're turning this around we've funded 610 extra child-protection workers since 2014 so that vulnerable families who need help can get it sooner,'' she said.
"Our child-protection staff work on the frontline every day to keep the community safe much like our police or paramedics that's why we've made record investments to support them and improve the system."
Georgie Crozier, opposition spokeswoman for families and children, said the minister was ignoring failing to fix the crisis.
"The VAGO report into Maintaining the Mental Health of Child Protection Practitioners shows Victoria has massive problems in the child protection system under Daniel Andrews,'' she said.
"The failure of Daniel Andrews with child protection services is also impacting on Victoria's youth crime crisis. Too many children from child protection services are ending up in youth justice facilities."
- with AAP
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