The Andrews Labor Government is ensuring child protection services are responding faster to reports of child abuse and neglect, with wait times dropping by more than 95 per cent.
The After-Hours Child Protection Emergency Service is a statewide service that receives new reports of child abuse or neglect, along with concerns for existing child protection clients.
The Labor Government has provided $22.3 million since 2015 for more staff and significant IT upgrades, which includes a $12.3 million boost through the Victorian Budget 2018/19.
As a result, average wait times have fallen by more than 95 per cent since we came to government, with the average wait time now down to 25 seconds – compared to an average wait of seven minutes in 2014 when the Liberals were in charge and slashed funding.
The improvements mark a dramatic change from when the Liberals were in government – when 12,180 calls were abandoned in 2014.
The after-hours service – run by 110 full time and part time workers – is available for all urgent child protection queries, with a separate priority access line for police and hospitals and another for community service organisations.
It is open from 5pm until 9am Monday to Friday, and 24 hours on weekends and public holidays.
The investment includes $1.59 million in 2017-18 to improve call taking but also give staff greater capacity to address incidents where children were at immediate risk of harm.
Since 2014, the Labor Government has increased the child protection workforce by 36.4 per cent as part of its recruitment campaign – the biggest ever in Victoria’s history.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos
“When Victorians report child abuse or neglect, they expect to be heard – and heard quickly.”
“Under the Liberals too many calls were going unanswered – we’re making the investments needed to turn that around with the after-hours service now working above and beyond to meet these expectations.”
“We receive thousands of calls each month, but an increase in dedicated child protection staff has resulted in shorter waiting times for callers.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020