ACWA has written to Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward seeking clarity and resolution around a number of serious concerns being voiced by the non-government sector in relation to the implementation of the Permanency Support Program (PSP) reforms.
In his letter, ACWA CEO Andrew McCallum has requested a meeting with Ms Goward to discuss a series of issues raised by member agencies during ACWA’s afternoon team event with the Minister in February and our quarterly Reforms Forum held in March. Andrew and Deputy CEO Wendy Foote have also met with FACS Acting Executive Director, Child and Family Daniel Barakate this week to highlight these areas of concern, which are as follows:
Service system gaps
Information provided to ACWA by our members suggests that the proposed service system design is failing to cater for a cohort of children and young people in out-of-home care. ACWA is concerned about the loss of the Intensive Foster Care level of which, under the previous system, allowed for the transition of these children and young people from residential care to foster care.
The proliferation of red tape
ACWA is concerned about the proliferation and duplication of reporting our members are being required to undertake, which is taking time away from providing direct services and creating confusion for the whole service system.
Lack of clarity and detail around new contract costings
ACWA is seeking urgent clarity around the economic assumptions and modelling underpinning the service cost elements.
Unrealistic requirement of workforce qualifications for ITC service provision
The requirement for workforce qualifications within the Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC) field does not allow sufficient time for current staff to attain the necessary level of qualification or for agencies to manage teams and new recruitment activities for appropriately qualified staff. A further challenge is that an intermediary will provide the relevant training for sector when the workforce must be qualified before the intermediary is even established.
Lack of adequate support for children with a disability through the NDIS
ACWA is concerned about the inadequate level of support and services being provided to children and young people in the transition to the NDIS.
ACWA considers these issues to be of the utmost priority if we are to ensure the PSP reforms currently being implemented will ultimately deliver the best possible outcomes for for children and young people in NSW. We will keep our members updated on this ongoing advocacy. In the meantime, our next Reforms Forum will be held at ACWA on June 6.