Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

FACS Is in Crisis

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

FACS Is in Crisis

Article excerpt

aWhen people point an accusatory finger at DOCS about a child injured or killed it's important to know that we are supposed to have 2200 case workers statewide ... we have 1200. And when you take out those on maternity leave, holidays, sick leave or secondments, there are about 850 bums on seats.a

These words, spoken by Ballina-based Family and Community Service (FACS, formerly DOCS) manager of case work Ray Wilton at last week's public service rally in Grafton were just one of several revelations which point to a department in crisis.

Mr Wilton, who is the chair of the NSW Public Service Association's FACS committee, said his department trained 500 new case workers every year to replace the ones that had left.

He said the startling turnover rate was being compounded by a high case load and the amount of data entry and documentation required by case workers a a job previously done by administrative staff who had been cut.

aWe've gone from 14% face-to-face work with clients to just 6% in three years,a Mr Wilton said. …

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