A parliamentary report on Families SA has highlighted a culture of power and bullying within the department. The report’s executive summary refers to a “rotten culture of power” in Families SA and claims caseworkers are bullied by supervisors. The report is from a Select Committee inquiry moved by independent MP Ann Bressington and did not involve the South Australian Government. She has told State Parliament that Families SA needs to change its attitude of being above reproach. “A change in a culture that believes but would never state openly that the family is the cause of all dysfunction,” she said. “Believe it or not, there are those within this department, within this agency, who believe the state is the best parent.” The report makes 16 recommendations including changes to the system for mandatory reporting of child abuse and checking qualifications of staff involved in child protection. A staff member says Families and Communities Minister Jennifer Rankine does not accept the report’s criticisms. Jan McMahon from the Public Service Association says problems in Families SA have been caused by job cuts. “In a civilised society we need to be putting more people back into Families SA and this is what this report says,” she said.
Govt rejects Families SA ‘bullying’ claims February 5, 2010