Palaszczuk Government taking action to keep children safe

Published Wednesday, 27 July, 2016 at 09:55 AM

Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

A successful program to help perpetrators of domestic violence stop their violent behaviour will be expanded to help keep children safe.

Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman said reforms to the child protection system in Queensland included the rollout of specialist investigation teams, new early intervention programs targeted at dads, as well as $2.9 million to improve family engagement services.

Ms Fentiman said there were 166 more child safety staff and support workers on the frontline than there were two years ago, when 225 child safety jobs were axed by the former LNP government.

It builds on a record more than $1 billion to support vulnerable children and families in the 2016-17 State Budget.

“The safety of Queensland children and the wellbeing of families is the Palaszczuk Government’s highest priority,” Ms Fentiman said.

“That is why we are continuing to take action to ensure Queensland children are safe and families can get the help they need before they come into contact with the child protection system, no matter where they live.

“I am proud to announce the rollout of the new Walking with Dads program, which is a domestic-violence informed approach to child protection work, to Gympie and Mount Isa after a successful trial at Caboolture.

“The program motivates men to change violent behaviour by making them accountable.

“Women are often told they need to end their relationship with a violent man. That means he will simply reappear somewhere else with another family, or he returns to the former family, with little impetus for him to change his behaviour.

“This program will address that gap and improve the safety of not only children, but women as well.”

Ms Fentiman said specialist intervention teams will be rolled out across the state, following the successful implementation in child safety centres across Far North Queensland, the state’s southwest and soon-to-be on the Gold Coast.

“We want to see specialist investigation teams working well across the state to drive better response times when investigating and assessing allegations of child neglect or abuse,” Ms Fentiman said.

She said the additional frontline workers will boost the work already being done to engage families.

“It is vital that families are included and have a voice in decisions that affect them,” Ms Fentiman said.

“Additional family group meeting convenors and coordinators will mean families can work with the right person for them. They are more likely to commit to the changes necessary and partner with us to improve not only the health of their family unit, but to ensure the safety of their children.

“These individuals work one-on-one with families to share the responsibility for the protection of their children and develop case plans that affect their lives.

“They put families back into the driver’s seat and help us to keep families safely together.”

The Palaszczuk Government’s additional almost $200 million investment in domestic and family violence services will also help to keep children at risk safe.

“In almost half of all households substantiated by child safety, domestic and family violence was also present,” Ms Fentiman said.

“We are determined to tackle domestic and family violence and keep women and children safe.

“But government cannot do this alone. We need the whole community to keep Queensland children safe, whether they be in care or supported by their parents.

“Child Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

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