Child safety data shows that Queensland has growing numbers of children in care
Demand for family support and child protection services throughout Queensland continues to grow, the latest quarterly child safety data has shown. Despite the increasing pressure the system is under, Minister for Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs Leanne Linard said there has been a number of improvements recently.
“The number of investigations commenced by Child Safety in the last year is up by 7 per cent to 26,035, which is 1,771 more commenced investigations when compared to the same period last year,” Ms Linard said, noting that the number of investigations which began on time is also up to 13,896 or 53 per cent, an increase of almost 30 per cent when compared to the previous year.
“Importantly, 95 per cent of investigations in our most critical cases, our 24-hour cases, were commenced on time, meaning we are there when children and families need us most,” she added.
Ms Linard said the Queensland Government was dedicated to protecting children and young people who had been harmed or were at risk of harm.
“The number of children in care in Queensland continued to rise to 10,929 as at 31 March 2021, compared to 10,190 in the previous year,” she said, thanking the 5,785 Queenslanders who provide care for these children when they are unable to stay at home safely, especially the 1,689 first-time carers that joined in the last year.
Ms Linard said Queensland’s child protection system was continuing to work with families experiencing multiple risks, which in turn was increasing demand for services.
“There’s no doubt parents coming into contact with the child safety system are dealing with a multitude of risk factors, including domestic and family violence, drug and alcohol issues, mental illness, criminal histories and child abuse,” she said.
“Three out of every four households had more than one of these risk factors, adding to already complex and difficult home circumstances which is being further exacerbated by COVID-19.
The use of methamphetamines, she said, continues to impact some Queensland families, with 42 per cent of children who came into care had a parent with methamphetamine use recorded. In almost 70 per cent of these cases, the type of methamphetamine was ice.
“However, help is available for families and they should seek it as early as possible,” Ms Linard said.
“Families can call 13 FAMILY (13 32 64) and be referred to their local Family and Child Connect service.”
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