Minister defends child protection work
The State Government has defended its child protection record in the Pilbara, where regular concerns of under-resourcing have been raised in the past year.
Child Protection Minister Andrea Mitchell said the Government was working towards changing its approach to tackling child welfare issues.
“We are very keen to work with families long before we have to remove children from care,” she said.
“A lot of people still think Child Protection want to take children away — no they don’t, they actually want to restore the family, keep the family strong and keep that child in a safe place.
“If and when further assistance is needed there is a group of people in Perth who can respond quickly.”
In February, concerns were raised about the lack of a resident child-protection worker in Tom Price because of a staff freeze, while the Department for Child Protection was managing 357 cases in the Pilbara.
A month later it was revealed two Newman children had run away from residential care four times in a fortnight.
The department claimed family members had encouraged them to abscond, a statement a family friend denied.
WA Nationals leader Brendon Grylls said government agencies were working well together to keep children in the region safe.
“Normally, once it gets to the stage where neighbours are ringing up and passing on concerns, they are a long way gone,” he said.
“Child Protection is only defined by the cases which haven’t worked, so, well, I just wanted to take the opportunity to talk about how they seem to be working very well.”
Mr Grylls applauded the Roebourne police, who have been nominated for a Police Excellence Award for their proactive work with children and the community.