A Wagga preschool teacher has slammed the results of a report into the state’s child protection as disgraceful.
It comes after the results of a damning independent investigation into NSW family and community services were made public last week.
According to former senior public servant David Tune’s evaluation, only one-third of reports a child may have been at risk of harm were investigated between 2015 and 2016.
About 75 per cent of these cases were then dumped; finalised without follow-up, according to Friday’s report.
Working in an occupation where mandatory reporting is obligatory, a Wagga preschool teacher – who wished to remain anonymous for fear of penalty – said the results were disappointing.
“For a child identified as ‘at risk’ to not be followed up is just terrible,” the teacher said. “It is disheartening.”
According to a Family and Community Services report, within the same time period, about 45 per 1000 children (aged 0 to 17 years) across NSW were identified as being at risk of significant harm.
Across the Murrumbidgee, that number was about 65 per 1000.
With about 62,722 children recorded across this area – according to the 2016 census – there would be about 4014 identified as being at risk of significant harm between 2015 and 2016.
The preschool teacher said a child’s health and well being had to be a whole-community priority.
This sentiment was echoed by Amaranth Foundation founder and chief executive Julianne Whyte.
But rather than “bagging the system” Ms Whyte – a long-time social worker – said the report identified areas across the sector needing improvement.
“Everyone is working to maximum capacity,” Ms Whyte said.
“My dealings with department have been fantastic … the work they do is brilliant.”
She said the report identified an opportunity to do something better; to develop the right systems, that would support the micro (individual), macro (political) and meso (middle-range).
“Should we be saying: ‘what’s missing here’?” Ms Whyte said. “Are we fixing this? Are we responding well?”