Govt department cuts could put vulnerable children at risk

THE Public Service Association says proposed cuts to the Department of Community Services will place vulnerable children and families in "extreme danger".

Fairfax reported on Friday it had obtained a leaked document that revealed the department planned to achieve almost $500 million in savings measures over the next four years.

Child sexual assault services and the child protection helpline are reported to be on the hit-list for cuts.

A spokeswoman told Fairfax it was an internal document and that Minister Pru Goward had not endorsed the figures.

PSA assistant secretary Steve Turner said the cuts would make it difficult for child protection workers to "keep children and families safe" and would stretch a department already battling "understaffing, ongoing job cuts and cuts to early intervention services".

"NSW's most vulnerable children and families are placed in extreme danger by budget cuts, understaffing and overburdening of community services staff," Mr Turner said.

"Over the past months, community services child protection caseworkers at more than a dozen offices have walked off the job in protest at the tragic impact of chronic understaffing and a lack of resources.

"NSW needs caseworker vacancies filled, not massive cuts to budgets and staff."


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