The 2014 Report on Government Services reveals possible abuse notification investigations are less likely to be completed within 28 days in the ACT (28.2 per cent) than anywhere else except Queensland (27 per cent) and Western Australia (27.3 per cent).
Only 37.2 per cent of finalised ACT investigations were substantiated, compared with 51.2 per cent in NSW, 58.3 per cent in Victoria.
The report also found it costs $880 on average to undertake a child abuse investigation in the ACT, compared to $3,470 per case in New South Wales and $12,434 in Queensland.
Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services Nicole Lawder says the report is a “slap in the face” to vulnerable young people who rely on the child protection system.
“This report demonstrates the ACT Labor government’s lack of commitment to child protection services,” she says.
“While the internal efficiency may be improving, there is a clear lack of focus for better outcomes for children. The old saying applies here, ‘you get what you pay for and you pay for what you get’.”
However Acting ACT Minister for Children and Young People Shane Rattenbury says the Government is “making progress” in supporting vulnerable children, young people and families.
“The report showed that the proportion of children and young people who had only one or two placements while in out-of-home care increased from 47.9 per cent in 2011-12 to 59.7 per cent in 2012-13, demonstrating a substantial improvement in the stability of placements,” Mr Rattenbury says.
”The ACT government will continue to work to improve the child protection system to achieve the best possible outcomes for children, young people and their families.”