Queenslanders have more time to comment and inform the future of the state’s child protection legislation with the public consultation period now extended to 27 September 2019.
Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women Di Farmer announced the three-week extension to the consultation period to inform further changes to Queensland’s child protection legislation reform while in Townsville today as part of Child Safety Week 2019 (1 to 7 September).
Ms Farmer said the consultation was focusing on three areas of reform, reinforcing children’s rights across the legislative framework; strengthening children’s voices in decisions that affect them; and reshaping the regulation of care.
“Last week, I met with 19 year old Dee, who is a CREATE Foundation young ambassador, and she told me about how important it was to her to be listened to and have her voice heard about what she needed from care,” she said.
“After a foster placement broke down, Dee was stressed about changing schools again because she had been bullied at the public schools she had attended.
“Because a supportive Child Safety Officer listened to her, and because her Principal also listened to and supported her, she was able to finish her education at a private college with financial assistance from the department and school.
“The result is that this young woman is achieving great outcomes – she’s studying psychology at QUT with the help of a scholarship.
“Because her voice was heard, Dee received the support she needed to achieve, but unfortunately not all children in care say they’ve had the same kind of experience.
“A recent report from the CREATE Foundation showed that while 93% of children and young people in care feel safe and secure in their current placement, about a third felt they didn’t have much of a say in decisions made about them.
“We want every child and young person in care to have their voices heard, which is why we’re asking for input on how we can make sure that happens.”
CREATE Foundation Chief Executive Officer Jacqui Reed said they welcomed the consultation extension as it gave valuable additional time for submissions.
“This extension gives the community and the sector more time to provide meaningful dialogue and to fully consider the ramifications of proposed changes to the Child Protection Act which is such a unique opportunity for us all,” she said.
Ms Farmer said the review formed part of the Palaszczuk Government’s election commitment to continue the 10 year child safety reform agenda in response to the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry, and recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, as well as the review of foster care.
“I want to hear from all Queenslanders, particularly children and young people with care experience, their families, carers, service providers and staff, about their thoughts on these important proposals,” Ms Farmer said.
“I’m also looking forward to meeting with child safety stakeholders in Townsville this week, including a CREATE Foundation young consultant, to hear their ideas on how we can better recognise and protect the rights of children and young people.”
The consultation paper Rethinking rights and regulation: towards a strong framework for protecting children and supporting families is available for public comment until Friday 27 September.
The paper outlines a number of options to guide feedback on the next stage of proposed amendments. Queenslanders can submit a written response or complete an online survey.
Public comment is available through Get Involved, with links to the Youth e-Hub for people under 25. Visit: https://www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au/gi/consultation/5802/view.html