Queensland Government media release
Queensland’s child safety sector is keeping up with demand, even as the number of enquires and the demand for services increases.
Child Safety Minister Di Farmer said the latest yearly data indicated the family support service sector was providing more families than ever with the support they need.
“Since January 2015, Family and Child Connect (FaCC) services have received a staggering 85,000 enquiries, and almost 33,000 of these enquiries were in the last year alone,” Ms Farmer said.
“What this tells us is that people across Queensland are looking out for vulnerable families and taking the steps to report when they think a child needs protection.
“FaCC services are actively engaged with more than 18,500 families statewide, providing these critical services with compassion and respect.”
FaCC is an easily accessible referral point for professionals working with families who may need support. They provide information and advice to people seeking assistance where there are concerns about the wellbeing of children and families.
Ms Farmer said the number of children in need of protection continued to decline, a trend that started in September 2017.
“We’re doing more work with families early on, so they can be better parents and are able to keep their kids safe at home,” Ms Farmer said.
“We have had 256 fewer children deemed in need of protection compared to the same period last year, a continuation of a two-year downward trend.
“However, methamphetamine use continues to play a significant role in child safety and we have continued to see one in three children who came into care with a parent with past or present issues with drugs like ice.
“Where parental methamphetamine use was recorded, 54 percent of those children were subjected to neglect, 31 per cent emotional harm, 13 per cent physical harm and two per cent sexual abuse.”
Ms Farmer said the number of children referred to Child Safety was up ten per cent compared with the same period last year.
“Despite this increase in demand, the number of investigations commenced by Child Safety in the last year is also up by 5.2 per cent,” Ms Farmer said.
“This is 1,107 more investigations started by Child Safety compared to the same period last year.
“For investigations with a 24-hour priority, 4,093 investigations commenced, which is 647 more when compared to the same period last year, and 92.5 per cent were commenced within the required timeframe.
Ms Farmer said overall the number of investigations started on time is up by 8.3 per cent, meaning 690 more investigations commenced on time compared to the same period last year.
“While there is a slight reduction in the number of cases finalised within five and ten days, because our staff are intervening when necessary before the investigations conclude,” Ms Farmer said.
“This means our dedicated staff are taking slightly longer but are achieving better results.
“Our Child Safety officers are working hard, getting better results, and getting it right.
“The Palaszczuk Government is putting boots on the ground and keeping our families and children safe.”
Ms Farmer said the Palaszczuk Government’s investment into more staff continued to have a positive impact, with Child Safety Officer caseloads remaining below 17.
“Caseloads are currently at 16.8 which is the best result we have had since reporting on this measure started in June 2012,” Ms Farmer said.
“The number of foster and kinship carer families continues to increase and as at 31 December 2018, there were 5285 carer families here in Queensland opening their homes to our children in need, up from 5249 a year ago,”
“Over the last year we have seen more carer families coming on board, and the number putting their hands up to become foster carers was higher than the number of carer families who exited the system.
“In fact, we had 72 more carer families start than exit for that time period."
For more information on becoming a foster carer phone the Foster Care Recruitment Line on 1300 550 877, or visit this Queensland Government portal.