No Indigenous Child Welfare Reform Despite Government Commitments, Report Says

The department posted the ACMP on its website in 2019, but the report found it is still not functional in any DCJ districts.

“This review found that ACMP cannot be implemented through existing resources, as several DCJ districts struggle to manage existing workloads,” the report states.

“There is a need for urgent action, better staff training and support and an injection of funding and resources to support a more effective implementation approach.”

According to the report, the DCJ admitted to the Office of the Guardian that the size and scope of the ACMP was overwhelming for its districts, and that it had received limited funding to support the initiative.

A social worker from the Department of Communities and Justice, speaking to the Herald on condition of anonymity, said the report was stunning.

“What was quite striking…is that the department itself said it was unable to fully implement the recommendations of the Davis review,” they said.

“It’s the first time I can remember the ministry itself so openly admitting that it doesn’t have the resources to do the job adequately.”

They said there was an urgent need to fund more social workers as burnout fueled high staff turnover rates and affected their ability to help vulnerable children.

“It is an absolute tragedy, the over-representation of Aboriginal children in the child welfare system in NSW, and in my time I have not seen this situation improve,” they said. declared.

“Social workers in the field often call it a stolen second generation.”

While the Office of the Children’s Guardian report assessed progress in seven areas of child welfare system reform, it did not consider whether the 125 recommendations of the Family Is Culture review were being implemented. .

The state government had previously pledged to act on 101 of the recommendations, postponing the remaining 24 for consideration in 2024, when parliament is due to review child protection legislation.

In a statement, a DCJ spokeswoman said the department takes the matter seriously.

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“The NSW Government provides AbSec [the NSW Child, Family and Community Peak Aboriginal Corporation] $1.2 million over three years to support the implementation of the Indigenous Case Management Policy. The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) has also recently created a Transforming Aboriginal Outcomes division within the DCJ,” she said.

She also added that the department is providing mental health support to its frontline staff.

“DCJ provides a range of wellness resources and supports to all employees, including the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and wellness checks for frontline staff in the protection of the environment. childhood as part of the NSW Government’s $130million Mental Health Recovery Programme,” she said.

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