Queensland’s Child Safety system continues to show improvements, with the Palaszczuk Government’s continued investment in new staff getting results.
The latest quarterly data shows another improvement in the proportion of the most urgent investigations being commenced within 24 hours, with 93.2 per cent commencing on time.
Child Safety Minister Di Farmer said this was the best result since reporting on this measure started in September 2009.
“The June 2018 quarterly data clearly shows that we are seeing improvements across a wide range of areas, and it is fantastic to see that 93.2 per cent of investigations requiring a 24 hour response were commenced within that timeframe, an increase of 2.1 percentage points compared to the same period last year,” she said.
Ms Farmer said the continuing improvement shows the Palaszczuk Government’s significant investments into Child Safety are working to improve outcomes for vulnerable Queensland children and their families.
“The work we are doing to restore frontline services is having an impact, and more staff on the ground means more children are seen within the required timeframes,” she said.
“We are employing an additional 458 staff over three years from 2016-17, including 93 this financial year.
“Child safety officer caseloads have fallen to 17, a decrease of 1.9 when compared to the same period last year, and that is a direct result of the new frontline staff we have employed.
The significant improvements are complemented by Family and Child Connect services where more than 18,000 families are actively engaged and connected to the right support services, around 3,000 more since the same period last year.
“I’m really pleased to see that more than 1500 of these families referred themselves, which shows our message – that help is available - is getting through to families who need it,” Ms Farmer said.
“Parenting can be really tough and that’s why I’m so pleased to see families referring themselves to the wonderful support services that are available, so they can get the help they need to keep their children safely at home.”
Ms Farmer said the number of investigations that commenced on time was up, with 620 more investigations commenced on time compared to the same period last year.
“Alongside the most critical cases, the five day response time investigations also continued to rise with 32.2 per cent of these commenced within that timeframe, compared to 30.5 per cent for the same period last year.
“And our 10 day responses have increased to 27.4 per cent, an increase of 1.1 per cent compared to the same period last year.”
Ms Farmer said the data reflected an increasing confidence in Queensland’s Child Safety system.
“Pleasingly, the number of kinship carers continues to rise, with a 6.5 per cent rise over the past year from 1,473 to 1,569,” she said.
“As a result of this the proportion of children in home-based care who are being placed with kin has improved, increasing to 49.1 per cent up from 48.1 per cent this time last year.
“The number of foster carers has also risen by 23 over the June quarter, which is a promising improvement.”
Ms Farmer said methamphetamine, including ice use, continued to have an impact on the child safety system, with the new data still showing almost one in three children who came into the care of the department during the past 12 months having a parent with current or previous methamphetamine use recorded.
“Drug use is still having a devastating impact on Queensland families, and this quarterly data shows 774 children who came into the care of the department during the 12 months to June 2018 had a parent with a current or previous methamphetamine use recorded,” she said.
“In 70 per cent of cases the type of methamphetamine was ICE. Sadly, more than half were children under the age of five.”
Ms Farmer said ICE corridors continued to be identified in the areas of south east Queensland stretching from the Gold Coast north to Logan/Beenleigh and from Ipswich north to Caloundra.
The latest Child Safety data can be found on this page: https://www.communities.qld.gov.au/childsafety/about-us/our-performance
Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Di Farmer