Who would want to become a child protection worker?
Who would want to be the scapegoat for kids abused or neglected by loser parents?
In the past child protection workers had to suffer crap working condition and staff shortages, where one worker would be making a risky home visit when there should have been two.
How would you feel, making a home visit when your mere presence was a lightning rod; signalling to loser parents you might be there to take away their kids, and their Family Tax Benefit A and/or B?
So-called child protection failure has a broader array of villains in the system than just the child protection worker, not the least being the parents or guardians.
There are times obviously where the system failed.
In 2019 the number of children not allocated a caseworker within the departmental time frame was 100, the highest number since 2017.
But those of us out for blood always blame the “system”, alias child protection workers, and meanwhile Mr and Mrs crack-head may have fronted court, but in the blame stakes hardly rated a mention.
In the bear pit of Parliament it’s easy to target the agency because for an opposition this leads to ministerial accountability.
Never mind that the scapegoats, the child protection officers, are the cannon fodder.
Family violence is a shocking pass time for gutless men while they try to deal with their glaring inadequacies, but the children suffer along with their mum.
According to police statistics, in 2018-19 there were 2516 notifications of potential child abuse, regarding 3574 students affected by family violence.
The Report into Government Services dated 2019 found that for 2017-18 the number of kids who had gone through the notification and investigation phases totalled 6072, or 53.6 kids per 1000 children.
The national average was 44.7 per 1000.
It was worse in previous years. Between 2013 and 2016 the number per 1000 exceeded 70.
It’s bad enough knowing that even the best among our supposed care and mentoring lobby – the clergy and their superiors, who concealed the offending, are the worst child abusers.
But in the scheme of things I was always nave enough to believe that with parents and guardians, blood was thicker than water.
That parental instinct would always remain paramount and match the loving instincts we observe in parenting animals.
My dear sister who we lost to cancer a few years ago was a feisty, independent woman who doggedly stuck to her dreams.
She wanted to be a nurse and by God she was going to become one. She did.
But her dad didn’t want her to be a nurse.
He wanted her to become a typist, get married and have babies.
So he opposed her and tormented her for years because he was a product of his era and she wouldn’t do what she was told.
Before she died she confided that a relative sexually abused her between the ages of five and 10.
If they were alive today I’m sure my enraged father would have really hurt him.
She suffered mental health issues that would plague her until she died.
We were so confused and concerned by her state of mind, until we found out the truth.
The abuser has long gone.
The abuse was a terrible revelation but that’s what happens to kids.
The poor kids suffering at the hands of loser parents and relatives, who probably suffered at the hands of their loser parents and so on, have to eek out a life traumatised and abused by those, who were probably so screwed up themselves from their childhood experiences to really care.
So it becomes a generational thing.
A life perpetuating the sins of forebears, but we continually hunt down child protection officers for an orgy of public shame.
I really don’t think all alcohol and drug-addicted parents are losers.
They’re probably among the hundreds and thousands of kids with whom surveys have found had witnessed family violence, or who were victims of it.
All my life I’ve come across women, who, in an unguarded moment, would confess that as a child they were sexually abused.
Each case would have a profound affect on the victim, who would dearly suffer the trauma for the rest of their life, while all the abuser had to put up with was fear of getting caught or a questionable bout of contrition.
Whatever the case I’m perfectly comfortable with sticking up for child protection services.
They’re stuck with a chaotic family predicament that’s probably generations in the making.
They’re the front line martyrs for a society that can’t or won’t adequately deal with family dysfunction.
Yes, they’re culpable to some extent, but to heap all the blame on them is just plain wrong.
- Barry Prismall is a former The Examiner deputy editor and Liberal adviser.
If this article raises concerns for you or anyone you know contact the 24-hour national sexual assault and family violence counselling service on 1800 737 732.
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