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Report on Government Services 2018: Summary of the Child Protection Services Reports, Part F, Chapter 16

The 2018 Report on Government Services provides further evidence that the Hodgman Government has systematically underfunded child safety services and this has placed the welfare of our most vulnerable children at risk.

Child Protection Services

Table: Real recurrent expenditure (2016-17 dollars) on protective intervention services (formerly reported as child protection services) ($’000) from Table 16A.6

2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
22131 20066 16625 19289

 

Table: Real recurrent expenditure (2016-17 dollars) out-of-home care services ($’000) from Table 16A.6

2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
49906 48673 53042 63573

 

Table: Real recurrent expenditure (2016-17 dollars) intensive family support services ($’000) from Table 16A.6

2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
8248 8481 6924 7117

 

Table: Real recurrent expenditure (2016-17 dollars) family support services ($’000) from Table 16A.6

2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
5593 5539 6020 6418

 

Summary

This reflects a 12% reduction in the recurrent funding available to child safety services to provide care and support to vulnerable Tasmania children over the life of the Hodgman government.  While an increase in the 2016/17 financial year was welcome it failed to restore funding to the levels in place before Minister Petrusma and highlights how dramatically underfunded child safety services were in 2014/15 and 2015/16 when the Minister told Tasmanians there had been no cuts to frontline child protection services.

Over the same period there has been a significant increase in funding for out-of-home care services but all of this money has been allocated to the non-government sector so has not helped to address the crisis in notifications and case management.  While the Hodgman government has spoken about reform and additional support to families the funding for intensive family support has declined by 13% over the term and has not been made up by the increase in general family support services.

Real expenditure per child figures highlight this reduction in funding and shows Tasmania is well below the national average on spending in child safety services.

Table: Real recurrent expenditure (2016-17 dollars) per child on protective intervention services (formerly reported as child protection services) ($ ) from Table 16A.6

  2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
TAS 192.71 175.56 146.26 171.04
AUST 229.91 228.91 221.76 221.91

 

Table: Real recurrent expenditure (2016-17 dollars) per child on out-of-home care services ($) from Table 16A.6

  2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
TAS 434.56 425.86 466.62 563.70
AUST 439.43 476.17 524.62 570.89

 

Table: Real recurrent expenditure (2016-17 dollars) per child on intensive family support services ($) from Table 16A.6

  2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
TAS 71.82 74.20 60.91 63.11
AUST 60.60 68.84 72.75 78.45

 

Table: Real recurrent expenditure (2016-17 dollars) per child on family support services ($) from Table 16A.6

  2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
TAS 48.71 48.46 52.96 56.91
AUST 77.85 71.15 81.54 88.04

 

As a direct result of the reduction in funding to child safety services performance figures continue to worsen in real terms and by comparison to other jurisdictions.  This shows that almost 2/3rds of all vulnerable children notified as being at risk don’t have an investigation into their situation initiated for more than 29 days. 

For vulnerable children across the rest of Australia 63.1% of notifications have an investigation begun with 7 days but for Tasmania that figure is just 13.3%.

Table: Proportion of investigations not commenced until 29 or more days after notification from Table 16A.9

  2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
TAS 25.5 24.3 58.8 65.6
AUST 18.4 16.6 16.4 16.7

 

Table: Proportion of investigations commenced within 7 days of notification from Table 16A.9

  2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
TAS 44.0 39.6 13.6 13.3
AUST 59.0 61.4 62.2 63.1

 

Similarly the time taken to complete an investigation has worsened both in real terms and by comparison

Table: Proportion of investigations not completed within 90 days from Table 16A.10

  2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
TAS 22.4 15.7 36.4 51.0
AUST 15.7 22.5 19.4 20.8

 

Table: Proportion of investigations completed within 28 days from Table 16A.10

  2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
TAS 29.2 33.7 19.6 17.0
AUST 45.8 38.2 40.7 39.1

 

Table: Proportion of children with documented case plans from Table 16A.21

  2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
TAS 71.2 68.2 55.4 60.2
AUST 82.1 86.6 86.3 85.3

 

Youth Justice

Real recurrent expenditure (2016-17 dollars) on detention-based youth justice services ($’000)

2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
14499 13933 11396 11821

 

Real recurrent expenditure (2016-17 dollars) on all youth justice services ($’000)

2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
19071 18233 16073 18037

 

Average nightly population in detention centres in Tasmania

2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
11.6 10.3 9.2 10.7

 

Rate of detainees and staff injured as a result of an assault per 10 000 custody nights

    2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
TAS Detainees 30.3 24.0 38.8 40.9
Staff 23.3 24.0 29.8 46.0
AUST Detainees 14.5 7.8 9.9 12.6
Staff 6.5 11.9 8.1 10.1

 

 

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