FACS workers walk-off in child protection system protest

Walk-out: Family and Community Services staff walked off the job on Wednesday to protest a state government decision to continue the roll out of a new child protection system. Photo: Peter Daniels
Walk-out: Family and Community Services staff walked off the job on Wednesday to protest a state government decision to continue the roll out of a new child protection system. Photo: Peter Daniels

NSW Department of Family and Community Services workers in Port Macquarie walked off the job on Wednesday protesting their concerns over a new child protection system.

Community and public sector union regional organiser Asren Pugh said the workers' action was part of a series of rolling strikes across NSW.

He said the employees had extreme concerns about ChildStory.

"ChildStory is a new system to handle FACS work. It is riddled with errors and is putting vulnerable kids at risk," he said.

"Port Macquarie staff will be asking the minister, Pru Goward, to halt the rollout of phase two of the ChildStory system. Phase Two would see police, teachers, and other mandatory reporters exposed to the faulty system."

Mr Pugh said the child protection system in the Port Macquarie area is in chaos.

“We are seeking a commitment from the minister to hold off on the roll-out of stage two of ChildStory until the problems with stage one have been fixed.

“Teachers, police, and others who are required to access and report into the FACS system should not be exposed to erroneous and potentially dangerous data. 

"Our message to the minister is: let's fix the mess we have before we go spreading it further."

Mr Pugh said politicians and tech consultants were 'sitting in the CBD of Sydney pushing out a system onto Port Macquarie that is literally putting vulnerable lives at risk in this community'. 

"This half-baked platform should never have been rolled out in its existing form," he said.

"It is making it easy for kids to fall through the cracks.

Walking off the job is never something these dedicated workers want to do, but they are so frustrated with the way the government keeps fobbing off their extremely serious concerns.

Asren Pugh

"Walking off the job is never something these dedicated workers want to do, but they are so frustrated with the way the government keeps fobbing off their extremely serious concerns.”

A spokesperson for Family and Community Services said the launch of ChildStory has changed the way many Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) staff work, and has involved data migration of over 20 years’ of information from a legacy system.

“FACS appreciates that the change has caused frustration as staff transition to a new system,” the spokesperson said.

“We have heard what people have to say about ChildStory and we are responding to their concerns. Feedback from staff using the system is being prioritised for weekly updates by the program team.

“Claims the system is riddled with errors are wrong.

“FACS takes all matters relating to child protection extremely seriously and has quickly responded to and resolved isolated data migration glitches.

“The glitches were systems issues and at no point was any child at risk.

“The department is committed to acknowledging problems in order to fix them. But it’s just as important to be accurate about those problems and not to overstate them.”

The transition to the new system has been a complex process but FACS is absolutely confident that ChildStory is significantly better than the system it replaces, the spokesperson added.

Comments

Discuss "Walk-off protests new child protection system"

Please note: All comments made or shown here are bound by the Online Discussion Terms & Conditions.