It has been revealed that a record 1124 cases of suspected child abuse were closed in Queensland with no action or no outcome recorded, according to Government data.
Shadow Minister for Child Safety Ros Bates said the Palaszczuk Government had closed the book on a record number of child abuse investigations without ever seeing a child or finalising the matter.
“I cannot believe 129 cases marked urgent and requiring a 24 hour response were closed with no action,” Ms Bates said.
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“Behind every one of those numbers is a Queensland child that someone in our community suspected was being abused or neglected and they picked up the phone, having confidence their serious concerns would be investigated.
“That didn’t happen and the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her totally incompetent Child Safety Minister must explain why. Shannon Fentiman is a fraud and a phoney and must go.
“These are cases that our overworked child safety officers deemed so serious they needed an almost immediate response and nothing was done.
“It is frightening to think more than a thousand children may have been left in violent homes having never had a knock on the door from a child safety officer.
“We only hope the 1124 children reported to child safety were not further abused or harmed after Labor closed the book on their case.
“The Premier and the Minister need to guarantee that not one of those cases closed without any action being taken was done to manage growing backlogs on the frontline.”
Ms Bates said Shannon Fentiman had also refused to reveal how long these 1124 cases of suspected child abuse of Queensland children had been on the books, and then finally shut down without action.
“I asked the Minister to detail how long the 1124 cases closed with no action were open before it was decided to end the investigation. She refused to provide that information,” Ms Bates said.
“Just as I have asked Annastacia Palaszczuk and Shannon Fentiman to release the June report on the performance of their Child Safety Department and, for the third quarter in a row, they have hidden the report for months after it was due to be released for public scrutiny.
“What is this government hiding about what is going on in that Department? We hear day after day that exhausted, worried frontline officers don’t have the resources to protect our kids.
“Those staff and the vulnerable children they’re trying to protect are being let down by this Premier and her utterly incompetent Minister.
“This is a rolling disaster in child safety for the Labor Government and Fentiman must go.”
On Saturday the Queensland Government announced it would hire 82 new child safety workers, after foster carer Rick Thorburn was charged with killing Logan schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer.
$7.8 million in state funds will be used to cut caseloads.
Minister Fentiman said these will be in addition to the 166 employed by Child Safety Services over the last two years.