The number of foster and kinship carers and child safety investigations in Queensland continue to rise, according to new child safety data released today.
Minister for Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs Leanne Linard said the findings were outlined in the latest quarterly data, covering the 12 months to 31 December 2020.
“Although the demand for child safety services in Queensland continues to rise, it’s clear our child and family reforms are transforming the way we work with families and young people to keep them safe,” Ms Linard said.
“It’s vital that we deliver the right services at the right time to support families and keep children safely at home where they can reach their full potential.”
Despite ongoing challenges, child safety has seen some recent key improvements.
“Child safety investigations commenced increased by 7% to 25,694 when compared to the year before, which is 1,679 more investigations in 2020,” Ms Linard said.
“The number of investigations that started on time also increased to 13,786 or almost 54% of investigations underway, which is a rise of over 13 percentage points when compared to December 2019.
“We continue to prioritise the most urgent cases, with 94% of investigations with a 24-hour priority commenced on time.”
Ms Linard said Covid-19 impacted many families, with the number of children requiring care rising steadily up to 10,828 as at 31 December 2020, compared to 10,698 as at 30 September 2020 and 10,021 as at 31 December 2019.
“Despite more than 800 additional children requiring care,the number of children being placed with kin is remaining steady at 45%,” she said.
“The number of foster and kinship carers has also increased to 5,792 families compared to 5,680 as at 30 September 2020 and 5,512 a year ago.”
“This includes 1,655 first-time carer families who are helping to care for Queensland children when they can no longer remain safely at home.”
Ms Linard said the Queensland’s child protection system continued to work with families dealing with multiple risks and needs.
“Sadly, 42 per cent of children who came into the care of the department in the 12 months to 31 December 2020 had a parent with current or previous methamphetamine use,” she said.
“And of those 1,111 children, 76% or 843 children came from homes where Ice was the drug of choice, showing just how much of a devasting impact this continues to have across the state.”
Parents in three out of every four households investigated by Child Safety where abuse was found to have occurred or there was significant risk of future abuse experienced more than one risk factor in 2020, including:
- 66% had a current or past drug/alcohol problem
- 55% had a current or previously diagnosed mental illness
- 55% had a criminal history
- 51% had experienced domestic and family violence in the last year
- 42% had been abused as a child.
“Raising children is not always easy but there is always support available for parents,” Ms Linard said.
For more data information visit www.csyw.qld.gov.au/child-family/our-performance