CHILD PROTECTION WORKERS - RECRUITMENT REFORM

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will reform recruitment practices to reduce current workforce shortages.

The Problem

The Nyland Royal Commission exposed many failures of the Weatherill Government in child protection.

One of these is how the Government seeks workers to provide child protection services.

As the Royal Commission found, South Australia has not aligned itself with recruitment practices in all other Australian jurisdictions which have targeted workforce planning strategies.

South Australia has lacked a workforce plan, including ‘robust attraction and retention strategies.’ It has unnecessarily restricted the
qualifications for child protection work.

As a result, vacancy levels have been constantly higher, placing pressure on staff to work beyond their capacity, compromising service delivery and potentially risking the safety of vulnerable children.

At the end of 2016, South Australia had more than 120 vacancies for child protection workers.

The State Liberal's Plan

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will reform recruitment practices to reduce current workforce shortages.

In particular, a Liberal Government will not restrict its child protection workforce to those holding an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in social work. This can be done without compromising the welfare or safety of children who need protection.

Like all other Australian jurisdictions, a Liberal Government will recognise a broader range of qualifications in the human services field. As the Nyland Royal Commission recommended, while social work will continue to be regarded as the preferred qualification, other relevant qualifications will also be recognised which can be augmented by further in-house training.

In particular, a Liberal Government will expand the recruitment of statutory child protection workers to include applicants who hold a Bachelor Degree (Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), Level 7 – the same level as the social work degree) in a related discipline.

Applicants with qualifying education at AQF Diploma Levels 5 and 6 with child protection as a core component in combination with associated skills and experience will also be considered.

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