CMC reviews child protection reform — 24.07.2007
The review follows the CMC’s Protecting children report, released in January 2004, which found serious systemic failings in the foster care system. The report made 110 recommendations aimed at improving the lives of children at risk, including the need for the CMC to review the state government’s action in implementing the report.
The report of the review, Reforming child protection in Queensland, confirms that as at December 2006 most of the recommendations in the CMC’s 2004 report have been implemented. Nevertheless, there is still more work to be done.
CMC Chairperson Robert Needham points out that the review is not a new inquiry into child protection services; rather, the CMC has objectively assessed which recommendations have been put into practice.
‘We have found that the government has shown remarkable commitment to improving child protection services in Queensland; however, there are some parts of the system that are not yet operating as they should,’ Mr Needham said.
‘In most cases this is not because of a lack of policy intent or financial commitment from the government, but because there are obstacles that are difficult to overcome. For example, some Indigenous communities do not yet have the capacity to operate community organisations that can provide support services to at-risk children or foster carers.
‘The Department of Child Safety (DCS) also has problems in recruiting and retaining staff, particularly in remote areas. This compounds the difficulty of ensuring that their workforce is well trained, committed and experienced.
‘While these difficulties have slowed down progress, the new DCS shows a resilience that was lacking in the old Department of Families. The DCS seems to have a greater capacity to identify failings in its operations and come up with remedies to fix these problems.
‘It is an unfortunate fact of life that errors will be made from time to time in the delivery of child protection services; however, we expect these to be isolated cases rather than ongoing systemic problems.
‘The Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian (CCYPCG) is now established as the organisation to monitor the child protection system. The CCYPCG will ensure that the DCS and other government agencies promote and protect the rights, interests and wellbeing of children in Queensland,’ Mr Needham said.
Leanne Hardyman – Media Adviser
Ph: 07 3360 6344 Mobile: 0407 373 803 Fax: 3360 6235