Welfare Cases Benefit From Early Intervention

With a startling amount of children going into Australia’s welfare system, there is an increased need for early intervention. A recent report painted a very dim picture of the current situation. The foster care system, although helpful in many cases, is not always an ideal alternative, especially with a significant decline in appropriate carers. Speaking to a caseworker from the Department of Child Services who asked to remain anonymous, it was clear that the cases who had some form of early intervention saw a better result for both parent and child.

A number of children have been in the system from a very young age, repeatedly needing care and assistance. All cases are serious and looked at with great care and attention. After long assessments and consideration, some are allowed back to their parents. Speaking to this caseworker it was evident however, that they could not account for what may possibly occur in the future. Falling back into a routine of abuse and neglect, the Department of Child Services have had to re-intervene on certain instances. These cases are not limited to that of abuse but also include children that must be put into a new foster home.

In a sense they are stripped away from their childhood, and made to grow up way before their time. It is hard to imagine that these children would not come out disillusioned and numb to the world.

“The list is endless. It’s everything you can think of and more. Depression, lack of trust, even suicide”

The impact this has on young children is devastating.

When discussing what the Australian government and DOCS can do more, it was made clear that supporting the parents should become a main priority. There is a number of reasons why a child or children may be neglected or abused. All these reasons are rooted in instability and, often a lack of support. Financial struggles and battles with drugs are just a few points made on the long and varied list of causes. Helping parents during the early stages of a case, is the first step to culling this horrible situation. Providing support to the parents can come in many forms. Whether it is helping them find stable jobs, or requiring them enter mandatory rehabilitation, small steps are necessary if we are to ever break this cycle.

When asked about these early intervention methods, the case worker had nothing but praise from them. Acknowledging the initial difficulty people may face, they are not impossible to undertake and follow through with, as she has seen it be done. The results have be nothing short of incredible.

“I’ve see it be done and the results are amazing”

The most important takeaway from this is that children can be successfully reunited with their family and, don’t have to live the remainder of their childhood in temporary foster homes. There is a chance, with the right method, that we can help parents understand how to correctly navigate difficult situations. Creating a safe zone for children and the youth of Australia will always be a main priority. If early intervention methods implemented right away, we may be able to finally see the number of children entering the system drop.

For more on this issue:

Listen to the interview with Lorraine Murphy here.

Listen to the interview with Greens MP David Shoebridge here.

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