Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The strange priorities of government social workers again

They only take kids away from responsible, loving parents. It doesn't give them a rush of power to take kids off trash parents

A teenager was returned to a foster family even though care officials knew the adolescent had been repeatedly sexually abused by a family member, a scathing report into Tasmanian foster care has found. The case was one of seven of alleged abuse of children in foster or "out of home" care studied by Tasmania's outgoing Commissioner for Children.

In his report, released yesterday, David Fanning said the foster system had failed children and that abuse was likely to be occurring still. He recommended a review, particularly of foster parent selection and placement monitoring, as well as improvements to support for foster children and carers. "There probably can be no greater failure of a system that seeks to protect children than actually (placing) a child in ... circumstances where they are further abused," he said. The system had failed children. "And ... I can't guarantee they're not failing children currently or won't fail them in the future," he said. The failings were so serious that a further audit of the files was pointless. Instead, he called for immediate reform and increased funding. "In all likelihood, any audit would reveal instances of abuse," he said.

In the worst case, Department of Health and Human Services workers returned an adolescent to a family in which it was known the child had been abused. The placement was supported by DHHS "even though there were ongoing concerns noted onfile by several workers that the adolescent child was at risk of sexual abuse by another family member, also residing in the same home". "There were several notifications that the child was indeed being sexually abused by the family member over a long period of time," Dr Fanning's report found. "The DHHS response to this abuse was to interview all parties, including the child and the alleged perpetrator and to accept assurances, including the child's, that sexual abuse was not occurring in the home. "It was later disclosed by the parties that there had been an ongoing sexual relationship between the child and the family member and therefore the child had not been protected in the placement."

Dr Fanning's report, carried out at the recommendation of an earlier damning ombudsman's investigation into abuse of state wards, is the fifth released in recent days pointing to a fundamental failure of child protection in Tasmania. Health and Human Services Minister Lara Giddings conceded last week that the system had failed and announced the appointment of an interim replacement for Mr Fanning. But that replacement, former welfare department head Dennis Daniels, withdrew on Friday after a victim of physical abuse made allegations relating to Mr Daniels's time as a staff member in a boys home in the 1960s.



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL hospitals and health insurance schemes should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the very poor and minimal regulation. Both Australia and Sweden have large private sector health systems with government reimbursement for privately-provided services so can a purely private system with some level of government reimbursement or insurance for the poor be so hard to do?

Comments? Email me here. If there are no recent posts here, the mirror site may be more up to date. My Home Pages are here or here or here.


No comments: