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Union urges child protection revamp in wake of Chloe Valentine findings

Unions are calling for urgent reform of Tasmania’s child protection system after the death of four-year-old South Australian girl Chloe Valentine.

The South Australian coroner was scathing in his findings on her death about Families SA’s failure to remove her from her mother.

The young girl died of severe head injuries after being forced to ride a motorbike by her parents.

The coroner blamed a “broken and fundamentally flawed” child protection system.

The Tasmanian Government is reviewing the findings amid concerns the state’s child protection system is plagued by similar problems.

The union representing Tasmania’s child protection workers is calling for more resources and improved staff training.

The Community and Public Sector Union’s Tom Lynch said there was also a need for better support from senior ranks.

There are far too many issues raised in that case that I have also heard raised here in Tasmania for us not to accept that there’s a lot for us to learn from Chloe’s very sad death,” he said.

“Now is the time to use this very sad situation to make sure this doesn’t happen again, let’s review our act in light of the findings of the coroner.”

Child advocates have echoed the South Australian coroner’s concerns that there has been too much focus on keeping families together.

Allison Ritchie from the People Protecting Children group said there were lessons for Tasmania.

“It’s an absolute wake-up call for every state and territory in Australia to sit up and take notice,” she said.

“The ethos of keeping the child at the centre has to be number one priority, sometimes trying to keep families together isn’t always going to be the solution.”

They are both calling on the Tasmanian Government to urgently respond.

Children’s Minister Jacquie Petrusma has ordered her department evaluate the coroner’s findings to assess the implications for Tasmania.

ABC, April 12: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-12/union-urges-child-protection-revamp-in-wake-valentine-case/6386476?section=tas

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