Safe Pathways housed girl with staff while getting $240,000 to care for her, says former staffer
- Category: NGOs and other system leeches
- Created: Wednesday, 30 November 2016 02:32
- Written by Richard Baines - ABC
Fresh allegations have been levelled against Safe Pathways, with former staff telling the ABC the foster care provider failed to give adequate care to a 12-year-old girl.
The troubled for-profit organisation is subject to an ongoing government review that was expanded after the ABC's Four Corners program alleged Safe Pathways was not providing adequate care to its children.
Now former staff have told ABC News of the harrowing plight of the first child Safe Pathways took into its care: a 12-year-old ward of the state who was an emergency evacuation from a violent household.
Former local manager Janne Holbrow said she took the young girl into her home for three weeks because no other accommodation had been organised.
She said this was despite the organisation receiving about $240,000 by the Tasmanian Government to care for the child for six months.
"She came to my door in her pyjamas, she had no shoes, she had a little bag with her," Ms Holbrow said.
"I believe she might have had a hairbrush, and a few small items but really nothing.
"I would have thought that she would have had somewhere to be placed — a home environment — and not just a staff member's home," she said.
Given the violent situation the girl had been rescued from, Ms Holbrow felt potentially at risk.
"I feel incredibly lucky that I wasn't placed or actually put in real danger," she said.
The 12-year-old girl is understood to have since left the care of Safe Pathways.
Safe Pathways started operating in Tasmania earlier this year and is part of a conglomerate that made more than $70 million last year from lucrative government contracts.
Ms Holbrow wants to know where the money has gone.
"This organisation was given a massive amount of money to care for these children that are in state care," she said.
Safe Pathways paid $70m while kids 'are in clothes that don't fit'
When Jessica was taken from her family, it was meant to stop abuse.
A former case manager who spoke to the ABC on the proviso of anonymity voiced concerns about the remaining 11 children in the care of Safe Pathways.
"I just cannot understand why the State Government is giving our taxpayers' money to an organisation that's making $70 million a year while our children [are] in clothes that don't fit them, going to community centres to get bread and milk because there's not enough food, not doing any activities at all," they said.
The former employee said Safe Pathways was letting down some of Tasmania's most vulnerable children.
"They are a ward of the state for a reason, and we need to be taking care of them, and we are not," they said.
"This program will not work while you have people like Safe Pathways still in contract with the Government."
Allegations will be investigated: Minister
Excerpt from Safe Pathways website.
Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma said the allegations concerning the 12-year-old girl would be examined as part of the ongoing investigation.
In a statement she said the investigation would be thorough with "no shortcuts".
She said all the children under Safe Pathway's care were regularly visited by a child safety office and were safe.
This month, Ms Petrusma told Parliament that Safe Pathways had already been investigated twice this year, in August and October, over allegations of poor standards of care.
Safe Pathways has been contacted for comment.
Source : http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-30/safe-pathways-lodged-12yo-girl-with-staff-member-abc-told/8078114?pfmredir=sm