I’m told this is a tongue in cheek speech. The only thing is, this is so accurate and represents what’s going on in every child protection agency in every state of Australia, ten years on from when it was given. It was forwarded to me today.
I think it’s worth republishing. It should be noted that Sandra Kanck resigned a couple of weeks after giving this speech. Perhaps it hit some nerves.
Hansard, Legislative Council SA, Page 457
Wednesday 29 October, 2008
The Hon. SANDRA KANCK (15:49): Ladies and gentlemen, today, as the facilitator for the Families SA training day for new social workers, I welcome you here, and I want to make some general points. In Families SA, we work in teams, and your team leader will provide you with the original family report from which all your other reports can be copied and pasted. Should that file ever go missing, just find the last version you saved and begin a fresh cut and paste report. This is the ginger beer plant model and it never, ever fails.
However, if you are ever in the position of interviewing a client for the first time, remember that you can write down any allegations at all on the file, and you do not have to put any basis for reaching those conclusions. You will always be guaranteed that those who follow you will reach the same conclusions as you have and that they will always back you up; in this way, the department is never caught out. We do not want any expectations of apologies, and we must always deny that we have a duty of care. A general rule of thumb, where parental relationship breakdowns result in accusations of abuse being made against partners, is to take sides with one of the partners.
There will be times when staffing levels do not meet the demands. Your duty then is to be in as many meetings as you possibly can so that you cannot be contacted. If, for any reason, you are not in a meeting, then do not feel obliged to answer your phone—put it on voice mail. We do not want any one of us to become available to foster parents or clients on an on-call basis. They could become dependent on us and demand more services. If there are any requests by foster parents for fees to be paid for private religious schooling for foster children, check the religious background of the parent. If they are atheist or agnostic we will comply with the request as a way of disempowering the birth parents. No justification will be required and no expense should be spared—after all, the taxpayer will meet the costs.
Page 458 LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL Wednesday 29 October 2008
We are now going to move into break-out groups and here is some information to assist you in deciding which one to attend. We have been copping a little bit of political flak lately over our broken promises on family reunification. For this reason, there is going to be a break-out group to rename the reunification unit without letting on that we really do not want reunification.
The Teenagers Know Best group welcomes newcomers. You will come into contact with a range of teenagers in this job and they know what they want. It is important that you respect them and that you allow them to make the decisions and not you.
Then there is the Provoke the Foster Parents group. They have an interesting overlap with the previous group because we like to encourage you to believe every allegation made by a child, even when it has been shown that the child, through repeated placements, has learnt how to play foster parents off against the department.
Keep them under-resourced as this may result in a loss of foster parents but, ultimately, we can return to an institutionalised model of care which will probably be for the best because we will then have total control.
The Maximise the Number of Care Orders Until the Age of 18 group has delivered strong results in recent times and I am sure that will also be attractive to you.
As much as possible, we do our best to ensure that, having determined natural parents are always in the wrong, the information they receive about their children is as limited as possible. The Keep the Birth Parents in the Dark group will assist you in developing those skills.
Our High Churn Focus Workshop will develop methods to maintain rapid staff turnover to review and update the ‘never to return to my section’ policy and to ensure that children under the minister’s care have constantly changing social workers. Life is tough and we need to make sure that these children understand that there is no-one you can rely on.
The department changes its name every two to three years and the Deck Chairs on the Titanic group would welcome your participation to sort out the next name change.
If the Ministerial Rapid Response Unit would move to the library and get some answers ready, that would really help to speed things up today. Do not worry what the questions are.
The Access No Areas group will work on strategies to reduce access. We know that contact with birth families is upsetting so we must be a tiny bit devious at times to make sure it barely happens. I am sure everyone understands that.
I hope this training day will be an enjoyable one for you all and, remember, the department (by whatever name) has always been right and always will be right.