The number of children protection clients without an assigned case worker has risen dramatically in the Loddon Mallee.
The Department of Human Services’ recently released annual report shows 10.8 per cent of its child clients did not have an assigned case worker as of June 2012.
This is an increase from 4.9 per cent the year before.
Statewide, 12.8 per cent of child protection clients were without a case worker.
Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge said the increase could be attributed to a jump in reporting.
“Demand for child protection services continues to grow each year and significantly more than the overall rate of population growth,” she said.
“The number of reports of suspected abuse and neglect during the past year increased by more than 15 per cent to 63,830.”
Ms Wooldridge said DHS had to attract and retain frontline workers to meet the growing demand.
“The Coalition government is meeting this challenge with a number of measures including funding an additional 89 child protection workers over the past two years,” she said.
“A new structure for the child protection workforce has been negotiated over the past year and will start next month. The new approach will increase the number of child protection practitioners working directly with children, young people and families by around 20 per cent – the largest ever increase in frontline child protection workers.”