The Queensland Government is delivering on its commitment to making Queensland the safest place to raise a child with reforms recommended by the Child Protection Commission of Inquiry passed in Parliament today.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie said the Government was following the Commission’s roadmap to build an effective and sustainable child protection system over the next decade.
“Queensland’s future rests with our children and these reforms are a huge step towards revitalising frontline services for families and protecting our most vulnerable,” Mr Bleijie said.
“For many years, there has been a widespread perception that the current system was failing vulnerable children and that’s why we undertook a full inquiry led by the Honourable Tim Carmody, QC.
“While the former Labor Government failed to act on recommendations from their own inquiries into this important issue, we have followed through to deliver a strong plan that ensures all children are given a voice.
“Our focus is to make it easier for families to get the support they need so that, wherever possible, children can remain at home.
“A new entity, the Queensland Family and Child Commission will be formed to oversee the child protection system and align Queensland with other jurisdictions.
“A Public Guardian will also be introduced to replace the Adult Guardian and Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian, to see our most vulnerable young Queenslanders aren’t overlooked by bureaucracy.
“The Public Guardian will be an independent statutory body that provides individual advocacy for children in the child protection system and will have the right to administer a child visiting program and appear in legal proceedings to assist children.”
Child Safety Minister Tracy Davis said the new Child Protection Reform Amendment Act 2014 would begin to reduce the current unsustainable demand on the child protection system.
“This is the first legislative step to reform Queensland’s child protection system and it will begin to address the unsustainable demand caused by over-reporting, as Commissioner Carmody found,” Ms Davis said.
“The changes will over time, reduce the number of children who come into contact with my department, and allow us to revitalise frontline services towards early intervention.
“Importantly, the changes clarify actions to support Queensland families, if and when they need it, as well as implementing a common sense approach for mandatory reporting.”
Other reforms included in the three Bills are:
- Transfer the responsibility for administering the Blue Card scheme to the Public Safety Business Agency
- Establish a child death review panel process to review the deaths and serious injuries of children known to Child Safety and other cases if required
- Clarify leadership of the Children’s Court and improve court processes
Allow prescribed entities to share information with service providers when children are likely to become in need of protection if support is not provided to their family