Pru Goward fires back over failing child protection

THE NSW communities minister under intense scrutiny for her part in the state's apparently failing child protection system has returned fire during parliament question time.

Pru Goward has been attracting significant media attention over critical staff shortages across the Department of Community Services.

Union chiefs and Ms Goward's rival - former NSW Labor communities minister Linda Burney -insist Ms Goward is to blame.

The fierce war of words between Ms Goward and her predecessor peaked when Ms Burney was ejected from the parliament chamber earlier this week after voicing a dramatic objection to being labelled a "failed minister".

On Wednesday Ms Goward cattily responded that she would never say anything about the former minister that was "not true".

She accepted that the current 234 vacant caseworker positions were still "far too many" but maintained the state was improving compared to the reported 497 vacancies under the previous government.

She also said the number of at risk children being visited by caseworkers was now 18,000 compared to the less than 13,000 who were being seen when the O'Farrell Government came into power.


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