QUEENSLAND’s Child Safety performance has registered its fifth consecutive quarter of improvement under the Palaszczuk Government, the latest quarterly data shows.
Child Safety Minister Di Farmer said the September quarter figures showed more of the most urgent investigations were being undertaken within 24 hours, while the number of carers for vulnerable children also rose.
The data shows the number of investigations that commenced on time had increased to 8,081 in total, Ms Farmer said – 250 more when compared to the same period last year
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“The data shows improvement in the commencement of investigations requiring a 24-hour response with 91.6 per cent of these cases commenced within that timeframe,” Ms Farmer said.
“This is an increase of 2.6 percentage points compared to the same period last year and it is our best result since September 2015.”
Ms Farmer said the consistent improvement in performance was a direct result of the investments the Palaszczuk Government has made in restoring frontline services.
“We are employing an additional 292 child safety staff over the next two years, including 236 in 2017‑18,” she said.
“These will assist to improve response timeframes further and bring down caseloads.
“Already, 114 of these new positions have been filled right across the state.”
Ms Farmer was delighted to see an increase in the number of carers registered to look after children in care.
“We have run a recruitment campaign this year to encourage more Queenslanders to open their homes and their hearts to children who are at risk of, or experiencing, abuse or neglect,” she said.
“I’m also pleased that we’ve seen a 5.5 per cent increase in the number of kinship carers over the past year from 1,443 to 1,522 in the year ending 30 September 2017.
“Importantly, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people placed with kin, Indigenous carers or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residential care services increased to 57.2 per cent in the year to 30 September 2017, compared to 56.8 per cent the previous year.
“This means more vulnerable children have been able to stay connected to their families and cultures when they can’t live in their own homes.”
Ms Farmer said the Palaszczuk Government’s ongoing investment in family support services was addressing increasing demand on Child Safety services.
She said while overall calls to Child Safety services had increased, a growing number of families were also receiving support from new support services.
“It is great to see that the Palaszczuk Government’s investment in Family and Child Connect services is paying dividends, with 43,000 enquiries received from January 2015 to 30 September 2017,” she said.
“Importantly these local community-based services mean thousands of vulnerable Queensland families are receiving the services and support they need to live at home safely together without needing Child Safety intervention.”