A long-awaited report into child protection services in New South Wales that labels the system “ineffective and unsustainable” has prompted calls for the resignation of Family and Community Services Minister Pru Goward.
The independent review, authored by David Tune, was commissioned in November 2015 in response to the growing number of children in out-of-home care, rising system costs and futile past reforms.
The report was handed to then Premier Mike Baird in 2016 and has remained secret ever since.
The review found government spending was allocated to an “ad hoc” variety of programs that were delivered in “agency silos” which made it difficult for clients to navigate.
“Interventions are not adequately evidence based or tailored to meet the multiple and diverse needs of vulnerable children,” the report argued.
It recommends the Government establish a new statutory authority to provide “personalised support packages” to vulnerable children and families and bridge gaps between agencies.
The report also highlighted the increasing cost of out-of-home care partly due to the transfer of services from Family and Community Services (FACS) to the NGO sector.
The Government spends $41,000 for a child in NGO foster care compared to $27,000 per child in the care of FACS.
Greens MP David Shoebridge said by withholding the report for months the Government was “playing politics” with the lives of vulnerable children.
Mr Shoebridge said the minister had “failed utterly” to respond to the call for self-determination and ignored the complex needs of Aboriginal children and communities.