National analysis of workforce trends in statutory child protection

Morag McArthur
Lorraine Thomson
Institute of Child Protection Studies

This project was commissioned by the Community and Disibility Services Ministerial Advisory Council (CDSMAC)

Abstract

In recognition of the critical importance of workforce issues, ‘Building Capacity and Expertise’ is a National Priority under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children (Council of Australian Governments, 2009). As part of developing a systematic workforce action plan, on behalf of the Community and Disability Ministerial Advisory Council (CDSMAC), the Commonwealth Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) commissioned the Institute of Child Protection Studies (the Institute) at Australian Catholic University to undertake a national analysis of workforce trends and approaches that currently affect Australia’s statutory child protection workforce. The analysis aims to answer the following key questions: What are the national trends that impact on recruitment and retention in the statutory child protection workforce? What successful strategies are employed or will be employed by state and territory governments to recruit, retrain and support the statutory child protection workforce? What priorities at jurisdictional and national levels could be considered to further develop the capacity and expertise of the statutory child protection workforce? Institute staff visited the statutory child protection authorities in each state and territory in April and May, conducting consultations with key stakeholders involved in the recruitment, training and management of the statutory child protection sector. They also distributed a small survey to child protection authorities, with the aim of developing a basic workforce profile. The preliminary results of these consultations were presented to, and workshopped with, FaHCSIA and state and territory representatives on 24 May 2012, in order to assist with the prioritisation of work for consideration as part of the action plan of the National Framework from 2012 to 2020.