The real cause of the child protection crisis is the large number of ‘hard core’ obviously
dysfunctional parents who retain custody of their children because of the lack of an appropriate child protection response in thousands of higher risk, and potentially catastrophic, frequently re-reported cases of abuse and neglect.
The staggering NSW statistics reflect the controversial and questionable family preservationcentred institutional and ideological shifts in child protection. Traditional child protection work has been crowded out by other forms of social work with dysfunctional parents. The challenge for policymakers is to reverse these shifts and protect children by establishing stand-alone child protection departments committed to fully investigating risk of harm notifications, staffed and led by child protection specialists, and overseen by a minister solely responsible for protecting vulnerable children.