Job 'freeze' reignited after another child death

CHILD deaths in NSW are shedding light on major staffing troubles within the state's community services system, according to the Public Service Association.

Calls for a "freeze" on child protection jobs followed the highly publicised murder of Mt Druitt's Kiesha Weippeart were reignited this week during a murder trial over the death of a baby girl in Sydney's west.

In both cases, the families of the child victims had reportedly been brought to the attention of the under-resourced Department of Community Services.

Referring to media reports stemming from the trials, the PSU estimated that almost 45,000 children deemed "at risk" by DOCS would not receive safety checks due to the lack of case workers.

The union claims a "freeze" on public sector employment and the slashing of a further 1000 community services jobs flagged in leaked treasury reports will place children across the state in greater danger.

PSU Assistant Secretary Steve Turner said DOCS staff were overwhelmed by case loads preventing them from essential face-to-mate meetings and, as a result, vulnerable children were "falling through the cracks".

Community Services Minister Pru Goward was adamant DOCS was better resourced now that it was under the previous government.

She told the ABC on Wednesday the number of children being seen by case workers had jumped from 21% to 27%.

She also denied talk of a freeze and said she had written to the director-general calling for all frontline caseworker positions to be filled.



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