Victoria’s child protection crisis deepens

Victoria’s child protection crisis is set to worsen after a State Budget that delivers no reform, and no plan to fix Labor’s broken care system.

Following revelations that 65 children known to child protection died last year in Victoria, leading experts joined with the Liberal Nationals in calling for a radical overhaul of Labor’s system - towards prevention and early intervention.

This is exactly what the Liberal Nationals’ Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children inquiry recommended almost a decade ago. But, once again, through this Budget Labor has failed to act.

All the while, devastating new figures in the Budget papers show that a record number of urgent child protection cases are not being followed up.

After years of Labor mismanagement, the last Liberal Nationals Government ensured 97 per cent of urgent child protection cases were followed up within two days. This figure has dropped to 92.6 under Labor.

Because of this, an unprecedented number of young people known to child protection are dying – like the tragic case of Baby M.

Labor brags that in this Budget it has funded more child protection workers. This is needed, especially after Labor’s cuts to care staff in 2019. But belated investment for families already in crisis will not change the appalling outcomes we are now seeing for Victoria’s most vulnerable children.

Indeed, independent research shows a continuation of Labor’s current, failed, approach will mean the number of children entering the child protection system in Victoria will almost double by 2026.

We urgently need a full, independent inquiry to address Labor’s deadly child protection failures. We also need reform, to keep young people out of the system in the first place. Labor’s Budget failed to deliver.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Child Protection, Matt Bach:

“Labor’s Budget does nothing to fix Victoria’s child protection crisis. In fact, new Budget figures show the crisis may be even worse than we thought.

“Instead of more of the same, we urgently need to radically change the way vulnerable Victorian families are supported; away from Labor’s deadly, crisis-driven approach – to prevention and early intervention.”

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