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Psychological testing for all SA Govt residential carers

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Every government residential care worker in South Australia will need to undergo a one-on-one psychological assessment to determine whether they are suited to working with children.

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The Department of Child Protection says the assessments were part of its recruitment process last year but will now be extended to hundreds of existing carers who have not had one.

The change was one of the recommendations from a royal commission into child protection in SA which last August exposed the full extent of abuse and neglect in the system.

Chief executive Cathy Taylor says the department wants a workforce that can keep kids in care safe and is working to allay any concerns staff may have.

“While this process may be difficult for some staff, the safety of children in residential care is paramount,” she said in a statement.

Child Development Minister Susan Close said she is backing the new regime as child protection workers must be held “to the highest standards”.

“Everyone in South Australia wants to see the government and its staff take the absolute best care of children who have been failed by their parents,” she said.

Forensic psychology practice PsychCheck will conduct the assessments, made up of psychometric tests and a structured one-on-one interview.

The process will begin this month and the department expects about 350 staff will have completed assessments by April.

In November, the state government committed $432 million to create a new child protection system, outlining a broad vision to help families and support children from the womb to adulthood.

It accepted 196 recommendations in full and another 60 in principle from the 260 handed down by former Supreme Court Justice Margaret Nyland, who headed the royal commission.

AAP

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