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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
    The Honourable Di Farmer

    Child Safety keeps up with demand, rain, hail or shine

    Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
    The Honourable Di Farmer

    Thursday, July 04, 2019

    Child Safety keeps up with demand, rain, hail or shine

    Queensland’s child safety sector is commencing more investigations than ever, despite increased demand and severe weather events.

    Child Safety Minister Di Farmer said the latest yearly data showed a significant increase in the number and complexity of cases compared to the same time last year.

    The Minister said the Palaszczuk Government had been rebuilding frontline child safety services.

    “We are investing in an additional 116 staff over the next three years, on top of the 450 new staff we’ve funded since 2015,” she said.

    “As part of our child and family reforms, Child Safety Officers are working more closely with families during the investigation phase to reduce risk to children, even before investigations are completed.

    “While this means investigations can take a little longer to complete, it is resulting in fewer children in need of protection at the end of investigations which is the result we want to see.

    “By intervening sooner, our Child Safety Officers are keeping kids safer.

    “The number of children requiring ongoing intervention is also stabilising, and importantly, for the fifth consecutive quarter we’ve seen the proportion of children in care who are Indigenous remain relatively stable.”

    Ms Farmer said that ice and other methamphetamines continued to be a significant issue for the child protection system, with 36% of children who came into the care of the department having a parent with current or previous methamphetamine use, a 20% increase on the previous year.

    “That’s why we have a five-year $100 million strategy to help curb ice use,” she said.

    “We’ve also seen an increase in other risk factors within families we work with, including drug or alcohol problems, mental illness, criminal histories, or domestic and family violence.”

    Since March last year, the number of investigations commenced by Child Safety is up by 8 percent, to 23,075 in total.

    “That’s 1,700 more investigations than the same period last year,” she said.

    “Caseloads are currently at 16.7 which is the best result we have had since reporting on this measure started in June 2012.

    “The number of the most urgent cases, those which need to be seen within 24 hours, increased 20 percent.

    “I am pleased to say that 100 percent of these cases had investigations commenced, and of these, 92 percent were commenced within that 24 hour timeframe – 621 more than last year.”

    Ms Farmer said the commitment and dedication of our Child Safety staff had never been more evident, with several North Queensland staff continuing to work during the February floods despite their own homes being flood affected.

    “During February, many of our Child Safety staff were personally affected by flooding. Some were cut off from work by floodwaters so had to work remotely, while others had to evacuate their homes,” she said.

    “The monsoon event and subsequent floods had a significant impact on child protection staff in North Queensland, severely compromising their ability to launch investigations and make assessments as quickly as they have in the past.

    The disruptions caused by flooding across the north affected state-wide response times with the proportion of investigations and assessments started with the required timeframe decreasing from 40 per cent in the last quarter of 2018 to 37.7 per cent in the March 2019 quarter.”

    ENDS

    Media Contact: Cat Milton 0447 117 132