A report that has been gathering dust on Child Safety Minister Roger Jaensch’s desk since February highlights dangerous flaws in a program he established to protect Tasmania’s most vulnerable children.
Shadow Child Safety Minister Josh Willie said the UTAS study into the Intensive Family Engagement Service (IFES) which is supposed to wrap intensive care and support around children in potential danger contains clear red flags that Mr Jaensch should have acted upon.
The report by the university’s Institute for the Study of Social Change on the IFES program introduced by the Hodgman Liberal Government in 2017 shows:
- Service providers were confused about what to do when a notification occurred regarding an IFES family
- There are concerns that delivery by service providers against contracts is not being adequately monitored
- The Human Services Department needs to take greater oversight of the risk inherent in IFES cases
- There is a widespread view that a fee-for-service model is inappropriate … because providers are struggling to maintain staffing
- Some families who were referred to IFES were too high risk to take part in the pilot program
- The IFES team leader role is too diverse with too much responsibility for one person
- The Human Services Department needs to undertake risk assessment when IFES intervention is concluding to determine whether children are safe to stay in their homes
“These disturbing findings have been sitting on Roger Jaensch’s desk since February,” Mr Willie said.
“He has refused to answer questions about this service while many of these children and families are in desperate, crisis situations.
“That is just not good enough.”
Josh Willie MLC
Shadow Child Safety Minister