Latest results from the NSW Department of Family and Community Services' (FACS) March 2019 Caseworker Dashboard show new early intervention and prevention strategies are helping more families to stay safely together.
The number of families assisted by new evidence-based restoration and preservation programs has almost doubled since July 2018. The number of Aboriginal families assisted increased by 76 per cent over the same period.
The March dashboard shows FACS caseworkers saw 27,841 children in the 12 months to 31 December 2018, an increase of 5% - or 1,377 more children - compared to the twelve month period ending 30 September 2018.
Furthermore, the preliminary figures for the first nine months of 2018-19 (ie July 2018 – March 2019), show an increase of more than nine per cent in the number of children seen compared to the same nine month period in 2017-18.
If this performance is maintained, 2018-19 will see the most children ever seen in a year.
The benefits of early intervention have seen a 44 per cent drop in the number of children entering care in the last two years to 30 June 2018.
The data on the dashboard show this drop in entry rate continuing, with a decrease of nine per cent in entries in the December 2018 quarter compared to the same quarter last year.
According to Productivity Commission data, in 2017-18 NSW had the lowest rate of children admitted into care in Australia and the second lowest rate for Aboriginal children, after Tasmania.
Data from the March 2019 Dashboard also shows the caseworker vacancy rate remains at zero per cent, with 49 newly funded roles filled and more caseworkers to commence in the June 2019 quarter.
The Government has provided extra funding to FACS in 2019-20 to recruit an extra 100 child protection staff, including 78 child protection caseworkers.
Where the caseworker statistics come from:
The Caseworker Dashboard was introduced in 2013 as a transparent tool to track where frontline staff and services are most needed in NSW. Caseworker data is sourced from the annual and monthly reports produced for FACS by its Corporate Services division and verified by an independent auditor.