Child protection workers have been reported over concerns about the care of their own children - and they are able to access those files, it has emerged.
Child protection workers have been reported over concerns about the care of their own children - and they are able to access those files, it has emerged.

Child protection workers reported over own kids

Up to five child protection workers have been reported in the past two years over concerns about how they care for their own children.

And those staff are able to access departmental files about those allegations.

However, Child Protection Department bosses and the minister insist any access would be detected and the worker would be stopped from making any changes.

Under questioning in a parliamentary committee hearing this month, department chief executive Cathy Taylor and deputy chief executive Fiona Ward confirmed they were both aware of cases where a staff member had been the subject of a report to the Child Abuse Report Line over concerns about the treatment of their own children.

"I would say it's less than five over the last two years," Ms Ward said.

Ms Taylor said she had one case "front of mind" where there were "serious allegations, such as that involving their own children".

"I think what you will find in those circumstances is, while they are still in our employment, they are not actually working within the department at this time because they will have been directed away (from their role)," she said.

"We also put limits on who they can have contact with. We also remind them of their obligations under the code of conduct and ethics."

Ms Ward confirmed that staff "could see" concerns lodged about them in the department's computer system "but what we do is mark them as sensitive and if anyone looks at them we are aware".

"Any changes to the system are recorded, so you cannot do it undetected," she said.

Opposition child protection spokeswoman Katrine Hildyard also raised the issue in Parliament during Question Time this week.

Responding to her questions, Child Protection Minister Rachel Sanderson said: "It would be my expectation that if somebody has a report made against them (a worker) that steps would be taken in order to stop them from being able to make changes".

Ms Sanderson said the system "keeps a log of everybody who has been on, so if they did have the ability to go on and make a change it would be on the auditable log so we would be able to determine that".

She added that the log was audited regularly.

Ms Taylor confirmed that Ms Sanderson had been made aware of allegations against staff members.

"We provide the serious care concerns up on a monthly basis, and other matters, when they are very hot, we would be providing up now on a weekly basis," Ms Taylor said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Child protection workers reported over own kids