Child Protection Staff Caring for Children in Call Centre and Offices

30 October 2019

The Public Service Association (PSA) continues to be in dispute with the Department for Child Protection (DCP) about Call Centre Shift Team staff being asked to care for children instead of performing their core duties, resulting in a backlog of notifications.

It has become clear in recent weeks this issue is far more wide-reaching than the Call Centre. Many metro and country offices are caring for children during the day and are now required to care for them after hours and overnight. There has been a large increase in the number of hours members in Social Work roles are caring for children.

It is outrageous that children removed from their families due to being unsafe and traumatised are then being cared for in offices by staff who are often trying to perform their Social Work and other duties as well as caring for children. These are totally unsuitable situations which could possibly result in the children suffering further trauma.

This practice is a misuse of members’ skills and will often mean other important tasks are not being completed resulting in increased fatigue, sick leave, and staff not being available to work their regular shifts due to working excessively long hours. Acknowledging DCP has previously stated that caring for children after hours or accepting overtime is voluntary, we know members working in child protection will often go over and above their normal duties for the benefit of children. This practice is increasing already excessive workloads resulting in further fatigue and burn-out of dedicated members in DCP.

The PSA is interested in hearing more from members about their experiences. This is your opportunity to voice your concerns regarding the increasing amount of non core duties being performed across DCP especially the major increase in office staff caring for children. Members can provide any concerns or feedback to PSA by email.