More SA children in emergency care Posted Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:08pm AEDT A South Australian parliamentary committee has heard there are 140 children in emergency state care, including 60 who are being housed in motels. The committee has been told the cost of the care was $16 million last financial year and is likely to be higher this year. The SA Families and Communities Department is expecting to have more than 1,500 children under guardianship this year, which is 300 more than forecast last year. The Department’s David Waterford has told the committee it is the same as the trend elsewhere in the world. “The increased numbers of children being taken into care is reflective of significant increases starting right back at the beginning in terms of notifications, there has been very significant growth in the number of child protection notifications – significant growth over the same period in the substantiations of serious abuse and neglect,” he said. No guarantees The Families and Communities Department says it cannot guarantee that services for children who are at risk will not be affected by planned public sector cuts. The State Government has asked departments to cut their budgets by a combined $75 million over four years. That figure is in addition to previous savings targets, including $20 million this year for the Families and Communities Department. The Department’s executive director of financial services, Joe Ullianich has told a parliamentary committee the Department is trying to quarantine frontline services from any cutbacks. “As we go further it will be harder and as to what happens if we can’t achieve them at that point, that’s a question at a future point whether or not Treasury … will accept that advice and remove that savings requirement or insist on that savings requirement,” he said.
More SA children in emergency care February 5, 2010