INDEPENDENT NEWS

Action not undermining needed - PSA

Published: Tue 7 Nov 2000 08:58 PM
PSA media release 7 November
Action not undermining needed - PSA
The PSA, the union representing workers in Child Youth and Family Services, says action on staffing – both in increased numbers and better training and deployment – is needed to meet the worsening caseload crisis and fears about the Department’s capacity.
‘The problem is obvious – social workers are overloaded,’ PSA national secretary Richard Wagstaff said.
But the call for scrapping CYFS by the Women’s Refuge head, Merepeka Raukawa-Tait is both short-sighted and counter-productive, he said.
‘Statements like this risk a further undermining of the role and function of the Department and only serve to make things harder for social workers operating in demanding and stressful circumstances,’ he said.
The low staffing levels and the resulting unrealistic and unworkable caseloads need to be remedied as quickly as possible, Wagstaff said.
‘A decade of under-funding and its drastic repercussions, have been highlighted in recent months.
‘There is an on-going difficulty in recruiting and retaining adequately skilled and experienced social workers,’ he said.
The PSA is working with the Department on pay and its impact on social workers’ recruitment and retention.
‘But it isn’t simply a question of money,’ Wagstaff said. ‘Social workers need to be freed up to do their job. They must spend more time working with client families and less time in front of a computer.
‘This basic change will mean more support for frontline social workers has to be made available,’ Wagstaff said.
For more comment and information please contact Richard Wagstaff on 025 277 8131
or the PSA media officer, Colin Williams on 04 917 2039 or 025 575 839

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