WELFARE workers on the Northern Rivers will discuss proposed reforms to the NSW child protection system at a forum today.
The Association of Children's Welfare Agencies is hosting the forum at Alstonville to gather regional input on sweeping changes recommended by Justice James Wood in his Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW.
Association chief executive officer Andrew McCallum said the demand on child protection services in country communities was as great, if not greater, than in metropolitan Sydney.
As such, he said it was imperative welfare providers in regional areas had the opportunity to express their views on the future direction of child protection in NSW.
“Data contained within the Wood Report indicates that more than half of 205,283 reports identified by the Department of Community Services for further assessment or investigation in 2007/08 related to cases outside the Sydney basin,” Mr McCallum said. “Almost 33,000 of these reports, or 16 per cent, were referred to offices located in DoCS' Northern NSW Region, whose extensive service area includes the centres of Lismore, Ballina, Casino and Alstonville.
The forum will be held at the House With No Steps, 253 Wardell Road, Alstonville from 11.30am to 3pm.