Queensland's billion-dollar child safety bill

The Queensland government spent more than $1 billion last year to save children from neglect and abuse.

But almost 6000 youth aged up to 17 years of age were still sadly the subject of substantiated complaints to Child Safety in 2017-18.

It took more than 90 days to complete about 38 per cent of child protection investigations in Queensland in 2017-18.

It took more than 90 days to complete about 38 per cent of child protection investigations in Queensland in 2017-18.

The Productivity Commission has reviewed the provision of child protection services across the nation in its latest Report on Government Services.

Last year, 5.1 in every 1000 Queensland children - or 5884 children - were the subject of a substantiated report to Child Safety.

That meant abuse or neglect, or the risk of abuse or neglect, was confirmed.

It was a slight increase on the previous year when the rate was five in every 1000 children, or 5767 children.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were over-represented in the figures, making up 37 per cent of substantiations.

There were 11,157 Queensland children who had at least one out-of-home care placement during the year.

The Queensland government spent more than $1 billion on protective intervention services, out-of-home care, intensive family support services and family support services, an 11 per cent increase on the previous year.

Out-of-home care received more than 76 per cent of that funding.

The state government spent $924.26 per child on all child protection services.

It took 29 days or more to begin an investigation in almost half of all cases last year, which was a slight improvement on the previous year.

Almost two in five investigations took more than 90 days to complete.


In Queensland, Child Safety staff must sight children before an investigation can be recorded as having started.

In the year to March almost 800 children were taken from their ice-using parents and more than half of those carers had only started using the drug in the past 12 months.

One-third of children put into care by Child Safety in last year due to parents on ice

Last year, 158 children in out-of-home care in Queensland, or 1.4 per cent, had an incident of sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse or neglect substantiated.

At June 30 last year, 45.1 per cent of children in out-of-home care were placed with family or kin.

Child Safety Minister Di Farmer said the report showed a 7.5 per cent increase from the previous year in the number of children who were receiving intensive family support services.

"We know that early intervention is the key to keeping families and children ... out of the child safety and youth justice system and our commitment to this is evident in these figures," she said.

Ms Farmer said demand on the Child Safety system was increasing due to the prevalence of ice and other drugs.

"There has been a small increase in the number of Child Safety notifications when compared to last year, as the result of more reporting from mandatory notifiers," she said.

"The increase in notifications means more demand for investigations and we have recognised this by substantially boosting frontline Child Safety staff to help cope with the demand.

"We are employing an additional 458 staff over three years from 2016-17, including 93 this financial year which continues to help drive case loads for staff down."

However, in December, LNP child safety spokesman Stephen Bennett said just 46.3 per cent of investigations were completed within the 60-day target in the latest quarterly data.

"Too many kids are falling through the cracks of a child protection system which is clearly under severe strain," he said.

Source : https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/politics/queensland/queensland-s-billion-dollar-child-safety-bill-20190121-p50so0.html

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