A Whistleblowing Woman in the Queensland Department of Communities.
A Queensland Department of Communities' child safety service officer advised that a child needed to be kept in long-term foster care.
The case file on the family clearly stated the child, who was in foster care, should not be reunited with her mother because the mother's partner had abused a sibling of the child.
The Sunshine Coast whistleblowing woman claims she lost her CSS job because she refused to sign an affidavit which would have resulted in a child being sent back home and exposed to potential abuse.
Other allegations the whistleblower has levelled against the CSS - in an exclusive interview with the Sunshine Coast Daily - include rampant cronyism among top officials, a revolving door policy towards staff who speak out and officials who act with impunity.
Most alarmingly, the ex-child safety officer claimed numerous children were being returned to environments where they were re-abused.
The whistleblowing woman worked at several CSS offices around the state over a 12-month period before losing her job in early 2009.
Despite blowing the whistle on her former employer, she does not expect her actions will result in CSS changing the way it operates, claiming officials hid behind a veil of confidentiality.
“They say they have to keep the identities of children confidential, but that's just a big rort,” she said.
“That's just so they can behave with impunity. They can do what they want. No one can get them.”
She said it appeared top CSS officials were “covered in Teflon”.
Child safety at risk, Mark Bode, 25th October 2009 :
Readers' Comments :
What this Officer describes has also been my experience of Child Safety Services and other Government agencies, and can be attributed to the entire Queensland Public Service, including so-called 'accountability agencies' such as the Ombudsman's Office and the Crime and Misconduct Commission.
All Queensland public servants have a statutory obligation under the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 to 'disclose fraud, corruption and maladministration of which the official becomes aware'.
Yet, when an honest and diligent officer attempts to do so, management close ranks.
They lie, and make allegations of poor performance, mental instability, or similar.
Honest and diligent officers are overtly and covertly forced out, leaving the inept and dishonest behind to run these organisations and rise in the ranks.
Ineptitude, unlawful actions, dishonesty, bullying, threats and intimidation are rife, so very deeply ingrained into personas and the paintwork.
The Queensland Public Service is rotten to the core.
Hoodoo of the Sunshine Coast and Region, Reader's Comment on the article above.
EVERYTHING 'hoo doo' said is absolutely correct!
Not all department employees are permanent, in fact, the majority are temporary and their contracts are often not renewed because, unlike permanent staff, they are able to "rock the boat" and therefore, are easily disposed of.
They are not on probabtion therefore not given the chance to take their case further and have their, or the department's, inefficiencies assessed / reviewed / disciplined or even listened to.
These temp workers have very few rights when it comes to making complaints, getting support from QPSU and Workplace Health and Safety reps.
There are very, very few inept workers; they are by far extremely capable and dedicated people working in a crisis-driven profession with little support from the community (they are hesitant to even disclose what they do in social situations for fear of ruining the dinner party / BBQ etc).
Furthermore, what is in the Child Protection Act, the Child Safety Practice Manual and other relevant legislation is not always what happens in practice.
Posting a pedantic treatise on the 'official' policies is fine, but when staff members are in the trenches, not just writing comments to a newspaper, these "legislative requirements are neatly by-passed.
Many staff members DO try to do something about the system WHILE they are working within it but to no avail - it is only when they are been conveniently disposed of that they can speak and be heard - and this has nothing to do with "sour grapes" - it is to do with fear, with righteous anger and concern for the children.
The requirement to keep a child's identity secret is indeed enshrined in the Act, however, it has also been hijacked to allow line management to act with impunity and as a very overt way of shutting up any complainers, foster carers included.
Anonymity is essential for all ex-government employees when whistleblowing - it is way too fearful for any ex-employee to disclose their identity.
JatzCracker of Maroochydore, Reader's Comment on the article above.