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Safe Pathways making money and putting kids at risk

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MONDAY night’s ABC 4 Corners program exposed shocking failures in our country’s privatised residential care system and revealed that, rather than protecting and nurturing vulnerable children, some private operators are treating them as badly as the families they escaped.

“What I can’t wrap my head around is why children are removed because they’re neglected, only to end up being a teenager in a resi-house still neglected,” said one Child Protection Worker

This week Minister Petrusma has come under intense scrutiny about the revelations that our state residential care provider – Safe Pathways – is failing to provide some children with the proper care, despite being paid thousands of dollars to do just that.

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Most concerning was the dismissal of concerns expressed repeatedly by staff about the risks to children from poor management and under-staffing.

Minister Petrusma’s answer to the problem? You.

She says Child Safety Officers visit kids in residential care fortnightly therefore there’s not a problem, but at last count Child & Youth Services had 17 vacancies which equates to over 340 children not getting the time and attention they need.

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There’s only so much time in the day and Minister Petrusma’s decision to under-fund and under-staff CYS is contributing to the lack of government oversight in residential care that puts kids at risk.

This is Minister Petrusma’s responsibility, not yours.

To watch last night’s episode of 4 Corners or follow the story visit http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2016/11/14/4572365.htm

But what’s the answer?

Privatisation in the Child Safety System has been a failure, as profits have come before the adequate care and protection of Tasmanian kids and their families.

Tasmania’s Child Safety System, like others across the country, is facing major challenges from chronic long-term under-funding, failed privatisation and a systemic lack of investment in preventative care and integrated services.

Child safety is too important to be handed over to private or not-for-profit providers – It will always remain the responsibility of government.

Today the Tasmanian Government could improve the lives of Tasmanian children by:

 Increasing the number of Child Safety Officers
•  Greater investment in public sector preventative services and programs
•  Return of residential care to the public sector

It’s time all levels of government started listening to children who are in the system and the staff who work with them.

What can you do today to influence change?

With over 40 inquiries into the Child Protection System nationally it’s clear we can’t leave it to governments to act – we have to make it so that they can do nothing but act!

You can do this by doing any of the following:

•  Sign the national petition here
•  Join the list of Members for our secret action at 9am on December 21.
•  Email or call us if you have a story that needs to be shared with the Minister.
•  Ask a co-worker to join your union

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