Child Protection Act changes in QLD
Legislative changes designed to strengthen protections and support for children and families in contact with the child protection system have come into effect this week, Queensland Minister for Child Safety Di Farmer has announced.
Ms Farmer said the changes were intended to strengthen Queensland’s child protection laws to improve long-term outcomes for children and young people in care, provide greater permanency and stability for children in care, and better ways of working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
The Child Protection Act 1999 covers the protection of children in Queensland, and sets out the ways in which services and supports are provided to improve opportunities and life outcomes. The latest round of changes, which come into effect this week, relate to the commencement of the remaining amendments included in the Child Protection Reform Amendment Act 2017.
The changes represent four key areas of focus:
- Safe care and connection for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people
- Stability and permanency changes for long-lasting outcomes
- Supports for young people to successfully transition to adulthood
- Information sharing among services to support families.
“We are committed to supporting children in care in Queensland so they remain connected to culture, have stability and security and can grow and learn,” Ms Farmer said.
It is hoped that the Act will usher in a new era of working more closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families through a new Family Participation Program, with an investment in the program of $34 million over three years, which will be used to fund 15 new family participation services to support families to fully take part in child protection decisions.
The changes also see improvements in the way information is shared about children and families involved with the child protection system.
The reforms empower service providers to share relevant information in situations where harm or risk to a child is suspected while maintaining confidentiality. Agencies are also supported when there is a need to assess a child’s case plan or respond to health, educational or care needs.
More information about the reforms can be found at: www.csyw.qld.gov.au/child-family-reform.