The number of vulnerable children known to child protection authorities who do not have a case worker allocated to them has grown to 2,300 — more than six months after the scale of the problem came to light from an Ombudsman's report according to report's in the weekend papers.
The Department of Human Services was forced to admit before the Legislative Council's Standing Committee on Finance & Public Administration on Friday that the numbers had not improved since a damning Ombudsman report was released in November.
CPSU has repeatedly stated that until they put in caseload controls and pay either a special increased allowance or deal with worker classifications to match the NGO sector they’ll never stop the staff turnover.
Unfortunately half the new money Premier Brumby spruiks about is just unspent allocations from previous budgets because they have so many unfilled positions.
The government has only effectivley doubled the number of unfilled vacancies with it's spending and still doesn't address the staffing problems.
The department will continue to lose staff, it will not be able to recruit and a year from today we will still be facing the same challenge.
Existing rates of pay are utterly uncompetitive with other professional rates by about 20% - a beginning social worker starts on $47,700.
The union tried to address the workforce issues in the last Agreement round but was told categorically by the department that there was no money from the government to do anything about it.
Now the same Department is forced to concede they don't know how many children in care had had case plans developed for them in the period required by law.