Updates

Action plan to support First Nations people applying for blue cards

Queensland Government media release

First Nations Queenslanders will receive enhanced support through each stage of Queensland’s working with children check (blue card) system.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman released Safe children and strong communities: A strategy and action plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations accessing the blue card system.

“The Queensland Family and Children Commission’s 2017 review of the blue card system recommended a more strategic approach to our work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples seeking to work or volunteer with children,” the Attorney-General said.

“While the review found that Queensland’s system was one of the strongest working with children check systems in Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples often experienced barriers.

The Department of Justice and Attorney-General has developed this five-year action plan which takes an innovative approach to provide greater support to our First Nations people through each part of the blue card system.

An oversight group will monitor and evaluate the implementation of these strategies and actions.

The Attorney-General said the blue card system helped keep children safe by screening people who work with children and by working with organisations to be child-safe.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their children often encounter the blue card system as part of their daily lives in their communities,” she said.

“It has impacts across education, employment, health, justice, identification and access to services.

“The majority of First Nations peoples who apply are ultimately issued with a blue card and Blue Card Services has already implemented several initiatives to improve participation with the system.

“We’re already seeing positive results from these initial initiatives which means better outcomes for First Nations peoples, organisations and their communities.”

The initiatives include:

  • establishing a dedicated team, including Indigenous liaison officers, to assist with the assessment process;
  • targeted travel to remote communities to provide one-on-one support for individuals and general information about the blue card system and assistance on how to apply;
  • alternative identification processes for people who cannot meet standard identification requirements which are part of the application process;
  • cultural capability training for staff, with specific training for staff who engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
  • developing specific information resources by an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creative agency which promote key messages in a culturally sensitive way and that debunk myths about applying for a blue card;
  • increasing attendance at community events to provide opportunity for people to learn about the blue card system, eligibility and how to apply; and
  • providing free, tailored workshops in person or online.

Minister Fentiman said the plan was part of the Queensland Government’s broader work to address the social and health challenges facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.

A copy of the plan is available at www.bluecard.qld.gov.au, or directly at this link.