After Tasmanian information was missing from a national portrait describing the impact of COVID-19 on child protection, questions have been raised about the transparency and availability of Communities Tasmania information.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report lacked data on vulnerable Tasmanian children due to delays and a high number of existing investigations.
Tasmanian children's advocate and president of People Protecting Children Allison Ritchie said a lack of information about Child Safety Services in Tasmania was a recurring issue and the government's reasoning did not add up.
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"The explanation provided by the government actually is quite troubling," she said.
"The explanation they've provided indicates that they didn't provide the substantiation data for 2019, much less 2020.
"It's very troubling and it seems to be saying to me that failing to provide the substantiations for 2019 would suggest that there are child protection notices from that period that have not been assessed and investigated and are still open for how long."
Ms Ritchie said without the availability and accessibility to information speculation was natural.
"This is where we need to start to worry. Are there children where notices were provided 12 months ago that are still not resolved?" she said.
Ms Ritchie said the history of accountability from Communities Tasmania had not instilled confidence in the community and that the lack of information provided to the AIHW "was not adding to that confidence".
Community and Public Sector Union secretary Thirza White said CPSU had experienced ongoing issues trying to get information from Communities Tasmania and was not surprised by the missing data.
"It's become harder to get information out of Child Safety than any other government agency," she said.
"The situation is dire, every year reporting is redefined making it impossible to compare over years and get a true picture of the situation."
Ms White said CPSU had long noticed a staffing and resourcing issue present at Communities Tasmania and believed it contributed to a slow process relating to child safety notifications and substantiations.
"There are simply not enough child safety officers and child support workers to meet demand," she said.
"When the number of notifications and kids under the protection of Child Safety increase, the number of child safety officers and child support workers needs to do the same."
Ms White suggested a commitment from the government to staff ratios - the number of staff per child with a relationship with child services - similar to what is in place in schools and hospitals, could help to remedy the issues CPSU faced.
Ms White's comments came in the wake of the release of the Tasmanian Government's Human Services Dashboard which showed that from July to September 157 children were waiting for a case worker, an increase of 86 children from the April to June period.
The Dashboard showed notifications made to child safety services but not the number of those notifications which were substantiated.
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