SACOSS, SAFCA and PSA urge rethink of short-sighted decision
The SA Council of Social Services (SACOSS), the SA Financial Counsellors Association (SAFCA) and the Public Service Association (PSA) are calling on the SA Government to rethink their impending SA Government budget cut of $4 million to the Financial Counselling Program in the Department of Child Protection (DCP). The cut to this program, announced in September 2018, is set to be “replaced” by an allocation of $1 million to the NGO sector.
“These cuts left over from last year’s State Budget to the Financial Counselling Program in the DCP, will significantly affect the lives vulnerable and at-risk young people,” Ross Womersley, SA Council of Social Services (SACOSS) CEO said. “What’s more, they arrive just ahead of a budget where there will be enormous pressure to make further cuts, as a result of lack of GST income.”
“Already, the pressure on NGO financial counselling services is severe with extended waiting times and they’re only able to meet 60% of the demand,” Wendy Shirley, SAFCA Executive Officer. “To expect NGO providers to pick up a program for less than a quarter of the funding is unreasonable and unworkable.”
“Financial Counsellors offer specialised and unique support to assist families to manage their financial situations where children are at risk of abuse or neglect. It's a completely ill-considered decision to hand this service over to an already stretched NGO sector with much less funding than is needed to support young people in care." Natasha Brown, PSA Assistant General Secretary said.
“The Government seems to think that they have trimmed the budget in one area and offered an equivalent level of service in its stead,” Mr Womersley said. “What we’re hearing from key people is that this ‘equivalent’ funding is ill-conceived and untenable. This is an area where the government should be investing more effort to ensure kids don’t need to enter into the child protection system.”