Concerns raised about funding cuts to CLC Care Partner Program
Community Legal Centres NSW (CLCNSW) is calling on Legal Aid to reverse a decision to cut CLC funding for vitally important child protection work.
CLCNSW has warned that a Legal Aid NSW decision to cut funding for Community Legal Centre Care Partners and the sector’s child protection work could have serious impacts on children and families in NSW, including the number of children placed in Out of Home Care.
The cuts will result in the loss of $423,000 worth of funding across 12 CLCs. This funding supports the work community legal centres do with families encountering the care and protection system. This crucial early support can keep families together while ensuring the safety of the child.
“We are seriously concerned about the impact this decision will have on the families in NSW that rely on our services to create safe environments for their children,” Community Legal Centres NSW Executive Director Tim Leach said.
“The Tune Report, finally released in 2018, found that the NSW child protection system was crisis-driven and ineffective. In late 2018, the NSW government rushed through child protection legislation without proper consultation with Aboriginal, community and legal organisations. These changes are likely to increase demand for community-based support,” Mr Leach continued.
“With limited funding of $423,000 a year across the state, NSW community legal centres are able to help over 800 families every year through legal advice and casework, which doesn’t even take into account the various discrete legal and non-legal supports that CLCs provide families needing help.”
“We are calling on Legal Aid NSW to reverse this decision. We're asking the government to release urgent funding to extend CLC Care Partner funding for twelve months and conduct a serious review of the impact of early legal assistance on keeping children safe with their parents and communities," Mr Leach said.
Affected community legal centres are:
- Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Centre
- Women’s Legal Service NSW
- Intellectual Disability Rights Service
- Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre
- Western Sydney Community Legal Centre
- Central Coast Community Legal Centre
- Macarthur Legal Centre
- Western NSW Community Legal Centre
- Shoalcoast Community Legal Centre
- Hume Riverina Community Legal Service
- Redfern Legal Centre
- Elizabeth Evatt Community Legal Centre.
For further information see: CLCNSW