Advocates for children raised in state care and foster care are urging state officials to have social workers abide by the same obligations as teachers and doctors to disclose any knowledge of inadequate care in homes.
Social workers are not currently regulated in terms of having to report this type of information and some may not even be aware of what to look out for. For that reason, advocates are wanting to increase training of social workers so that they can be aware of signs of inadequate care and be trained about what steps they should be taking.
In Australia, the issue is that laws surrounding reporting vary from state to state but mostly, unlike the medical profession and teaching, a voluntary association cannot effectively regulate a profession like social work or youth workers. The Australian Government and Institute of Family Studies specifically outlines who and what professions are mandated to make notifications.
Regardless of individuals legal duties, some argue that ethically, it is a requirement to do all you can to protect in any profession whether it be voluntary or not. This matter is being looked into and whether there needs to be repercussions for professionals who do not abide by professional ethics.
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Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: September 9, 2015.