NSW State Wards Report 'Appalling"
1 July 2010 at 1:02 pm
The Association of Children's Welfare Agencies (ACWA) has urged for an increase in the role of the non-government sector in the safety and care of NSW’s children.
The move follows an Ombudsman report to the NSW Parliament which has uncovered what the ACWA describes as an appalling failure of Community Services to lodge compensation claims on behalf of their state wards.
The ACWA says the failure to compensate victims of abuse is unacceptable.
The report tabled in Parliament has revealed significant deficiencies in the way the Department has handled victims compensation claims for children and young people in out-of-home care.
According to the report, thousands of children currently in care are missing out on the financial support and assistance they are entitled because of administrative incompetency and under-resourcing.
ACWA CEO Andrew McCallum has described the findings as alarming, saying this failure to adequately compensate highlights a double jeopardy for young victims of neglect and abuse.
McCallum says depriving these children and young people, who have suffered so much already, is totally unacceptable and only serves to compound the neglect.
He says the Department of Community Services has been damned by its own words, stating in the report that workloads are so great that pursuing compensation for those in care is not a priority.
He says if anything, this only further highlights the need to increase the role of the nongovernment sector in the safety and care of NSW’s children, as recommended by Special Commissioner James Wood in his 2008 inquiry into child protection.
He says the non-government sector currently handles some 30% of children in care cases in NSW and while the NSW Government claims it will adopt the recommendations of the Wood inquiry there is no evidence yet of its transition plans to the non-government sector.
The Association of Children's Welfare Agencies is the NSW peak body representing non-government organisations which provide services to vulnerable children, young people and their families. The organisation has been operating for more than 50 years and is supported by over 100 member agencies.