Stronger support for Queensland’s most vulnerable families
Published Tuesday, 01 July, 2014 at 11:00 AM
Minister for Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services
The Honourable Tracy Davis
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
The Honourable Jarrod Bleijie
Vulnerable children and young people will be better supported and protected by the Queensland Government thanks to the launch of two new agencies today.
Both the new Office of the Public Guardian’s South Brisbane advocacy hub as well as the Queensland Family and Child Commission will work to give youngsters a brighter future.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Blejiie said the South Brisbane hub was one of three new hubs across Queensland that would provide a safe place for at-risk children and young people to get independent help and support should they need it.
“The Government has a strong plan to build a better child protection system and an integral part of that is ensuring our young people have a voice,” Mr Bleijie said.
“These advocacy hubs provide an environment where children and adolescents can raise concerns about their care, obtain legal advice and ultimately put them on a path to a bright future as adults.
“The former Labor Government allowed the State’s child protection system to become overburdened and unsustainable, with children being removed from parents at rates that overwhelmed the system.
“This Government is committed to revitalising frontline services for families by enabling and supporting children to stay within the family unit, wherever possible.”
Mr Bleijie said the establishment of the Office of the Public Guardian was one of the key recommendations from the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry to address shortcomings in the existing child protection system.
“Today marks the start of a new independent statutory body, led by Kevin Martin, that will fight for our most vulnerable, including those adults in our community who have an impaired decision-making capacity,” he said.
“Support won’t be limited to those in Queensland’s capital, with physical hubs also launching in Ipswich and Townsville over the coming days to ensure vulnerable people in other regions have easy access to face-to-face support services.
“In addition to these regional hubs, a state-wide virtual hub will also be available, using technology and social media to make it as easy as possible for children and young people to seek assistance at the click of a button.
“As well as phone, emailing and messaging, the virtual hub can also be accessed on smartphones and tablets to ensure Queensland families get help and support wherever they may be.”
Child Safety Minister Tracy Davis also launched the Family and Child Commission, which begins operations today.
“The Government accepted the recommendations of the Child Protection Commission of Inquiry and has committed $406 million to implement the landmark reforms which will build a new child protection system,” Ms Davis said.
“Our reforms are aimed at strengthening families and keeping them together through early intervention, but parents and community also need play their part to support at-risk families.
“We want stronger families and the new Family and Child Commission will have an important role to play as we implement the child protection reforms.
“The new entity led by Commissioner Stephen Armitage will advise Government about how to create real intergenerational change for vulnerable Queensland families.”
Mr Bleijie said the Government had also released its response to the Queensland Law Reform Commission Report, which was put in place to review the State’s guardianship laws and identify avenues for improvement.
“Unlike the former Labor Government who commissioned this report, sat on the recommendations and never acted, we are putting a strong plan in place to strengthen Queensland’s guardianship system,” Mr Bleijie said.
“This Government’s response addresses 48 more recommendations than Labor’s did and as part of our six month action plan we have already delivered on our election commitment to restore the Office of the Public Advocate.
“By ensuring our system is accessible, contemporary and effective we are delivering on our commitment to revitalising frontline services for Queensland families,” he said.
For a copy of the Government’s Response to the Queensland Law Reform Commission Report, visit:
[ENDS] 1 July 2014
Media Contact: Attorney’s office- Jaime Wells 0409 624 139
Minister Davis’ office – Katherine Fraser 0417 172 480