Almost one third of Tasmania’s child safety officers are being impacted by caseloads above their recommended threshold, according to the Community and Public Sector Union.
Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services data, received by the CPSU, found that 31 per cent of case workers had excess cases.
This number increased to 40 per cent in the North.
CPSU assistant secretary Thirza White said the government needed to fund at least 20 more child safety officer positions to ensure vulnerable children were safe.
But Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma said there were 45 more child safety services staff employed now than there were in December 2013.
“Since coming to office, we’ve commissioned a full redesign of the system, have accepted all the recommendations and are now implementing the necessary improvements,” she said.
Ms White said she wanted to see child protection services at the centre of next week’s state budget.
“Some of [the staff] are carrying incredibly high caseloads that are unmanageable and are unsafe,” she said.
“When child safety officers are allocated more children than they can handle, all the children they are responsible for suffer, the risks to these vulnerable children increase and the workers themselves are affected by the stress.”
The union’s figure of 31 per cent corresponds with the percentage of staff with cases above their “trigger point”, a threshold that “triggers a discussion between the worker and their team leader regarding caseload”, according to the department.