Source: Government of Queensland
Queensland’s Child Safety system continues to show a steady improvement despite continuing concerns over use of methamphetamines, according to the latest Child Safety quarterly data.
Child Safety Minister Di Farmer said while the March 2018 quarterly data showed a continued steady improvement across a wide range of areas, it was particularly pleasing to see a continued increase in the number of the most critical cases being dealt with in a 24 hour period.
“The data shows 92.9 per cent of investigations that needed to be started within 24 hours were commenced in that timeframe, up 2.7 per cent compared to the same period for the year prior and the best result since reporting on this measure commenced in September 2009,” she said.
“This is the seventh consecutive quarter of improvement in this measure, showing that we continue to dedicate resources to the most urgent cases.”
Investigations requiring commencement within five days also improved, with the 32.1 per cent started on time, up from 29.4 per cent 12 months earlier.
Investigations requiring commencement within 10 days improved to the best result since records began in 2009, with 27.6 per cent starting on time.
Queensland is the only Australian state where Child Safety staff must sight the child before an investigation is officially considered commenced.
Work usually starts on gathering information about a case before it is officially considered “commenced”.
Ms Farmer said the Palaszczuk Government’s massive investments in new Child Safety staff were paying off with continued improvement in outcomes for vulnerable children and families.
“We are continuing to restore frontline services by employing an additional 292 child safety staff over two financial years,” Ms Farmer said.
“More than two thirds of those staff are already on the ground and working, and last month’s state budget funded additional positions in 2018/19.”
Ice and other forms of methamphetamine continue to cause serious damage to families, particularly those with children aged under 5.
The latest data showed close to one in three children who came into the care of the department during the past year had a parent with current or previous meth use recorded.
The number of children in need of protection where meth use was recorded fell to 738 from 782 at the same time last year, but the problem continues to be far too common,” Ms Farmer said.
In almost 70 per cent of these cases (518 children) the drug being used was ice.
“Children who have a parent where methamphetamine use was recorded are at risk of neglect (48 per cent), emotional harm (37 per cent), physical harm (15.1 per cent) and sadly at times, sexual abuse (1 per cent).
Ms Farmer was encouraged by data showing that more families reached out to Family and Child Connect because they needed help.
“For the year to March 2018, almost 18,000 families were actively engaged and being connected to the right support services, including almost 1500 families who referred themselves,” she said.
“That willingness to reach out and ask for help is critical. We have the support available that can keep families together and help to resolve problems before Child Safety needs to get involved.”
Family and Child Connect has received more than 60,000 enquiries since January 2015.
Ms Farmer said more than 5000 foster and kinship carers continued to provide love and support for vulnerable children.
“I urge everyone to consider the benefits and rewards of foster or kinship care,” she said.
“A 7.5 per cent increase in kinship carers over the past year shows people are willing to step up and help vulnerable families,” Ms Farmer said.
The latest Child Safety data can be found here: https://www.communities.qld.gov.au/childsafety/about-us/our-performance
Media Contact: Ron Goodman 0427 781 920