Record funding addresses rising demand for Child Safety services

Minister for Children and Youth Justice and Minister for Multicultural Affairs The Honourable Leanne Linard

Almost 90 extra child safety officers and support staff will be employed to help at-risk families and children.

Minister for Children, Leanne Linard said Queensland’s child protection system continues to work with families dealing with complex needs and risk factors including domestic and family violence, mental health, and alcohol and drug misuse.

“Child Safety investigations found in three out of four households where abuse had or was at risk of occurring, parents experienced a significant risk factor. This included current or past alcohol or drug abuse (61 per cent), mental illness (54 per cent) or recent experience of domestic and family violence (48 per cent),” Ms Linard said.

“Around 40 per cent of children who come into the department’s care had a parent with current or previous methamphetamine use, up from 31 per cent almost five years ago.”

Ms Linard said the recent State Budget allowed for the creation of an extra 87 frontline and frontline support staff positions in 2022–23 to boost services for children and families in need of help.

Placement of these staff has commenced and will continue throughout Queensland, with priority given to locations with high workloads. Two child safety officers will also be allocated to a new high-risk team in Townsville.

“I want parents and carers to know that support is always available to keep their children safe, and their families healthy and thriving,” Ms Linard said.

The Minister also said a record investment of $2.2 billion over five years would help bolster critical out-of-home care services.

“Hundreds more children have ended up in care because of a growing range of pressures on families, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Linard said.

“The number of children needing care rose by 3.4 per cent in the year to March 2022, compared to the previous year.

“We know the best outcome for children is to grow up safely and surrounded by kin and culture.

“That’s why we’ve increased investment in this Budget so when a child cannot remain safely at home, we can provide safe, caring homes where they can live and thrive.

The $2.2 billion includes $170 million in 2021-22 and $500 million per year from 2022-23 onwards. This will fund a range of care options including individual support packages to help families before they hit crisis point.

Ms Linard said the number of children needing care rose from 10,929 in March 2021 to 11,299 in March 2022.

“When a family can’t care for their children safely at home, Queenslanders are stepping up and becoming foster and kinship carers,” she said.

“Our carers open their homes to some of the state’s most vulnerable children and young people, and our ability to help children in need would not be possible without them.”

“Our early intervention family support services continue to provide families with the help they need to keep children safe at home.

“There is immense pressure on Queensland’s child protection system and this Budget will help us sustain crucial frontline services and allow some of our most vulnerable children to get the help they rightly deserve.”

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