82 new child safety workers will be hired in Queensland, after foster carer Rick Thorburn was charged with killing Logan schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer, after her body was found in Pimpama in late 2015.
$7.8 million in state funds will be used to cut caseloads and to keep children safe.
Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman said these will be in addition to the 166 employed by Child Safety Services over the last two years.
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Palaszczuk Government appoints 82 new child safety workers
The Palaszczuk Government will invest $7.8 million annually to hire 82 new permanent child safety workers to bring down caseloads and to keep Queensland children safe.
Ms Fentiman said these staff were in addition to the 166 employed by Child Safety Services over the last two years and on top of the 47 extra staff to be employed by the end of the year.
“The LNP cut 225 staff in the Department of Child Safety. The commitment of a further 82 staff means that we will not only restore frontline and frontline support roles, but have extra staff on hand,” she said.
“Our child safety staff are dedicated and hard-working Queenslanders and the work they are doing is increasingly complex. Staff are working more intensively with families and that work is taking longer.
“Queensland’s child safety system has been under pressure for many years but as the Child Safety Minister, I am responsible for restoring confidence in this system and for ensuring it has the resources and the staff it needs to be a healthy one.
“These additional 82 permanent positions will include front line child safety officers, support officers, team leaders and administrative officers who will help to keep vulnerable children in Queensland safe and support families who are in crisis. These are on top of the 47 extra positions allocated in the 2016-17 Budget.
“The Palaszczuk Government is restoring frontline services and rebuilding Child Safety Services after severe job losses and cuts in previous years.
Ms Fentiman said the 82 additional positions will cost $5.275m in 2016-17 and $7.875 million in 2017-18, and included:
*48 Front Line Child Safety Officers
*20 Front Line Child Safety Support Officers
*7 Front Line Senior Team Leaders
*7 Front Line Support Administrative Officers
Ms Fentiman said the additional staff will assist child safety workers to provide more timely responses to notifications of at risk children and support care teams to case manage children on child protection orders.
Ms Fentiman said next week the government was launching a recruitment drive for foster and kinship carers.
“We have more than 5000 dedicated foster and kinship carers who open their hearts and their homes to our most vulnerable children but we are always looking for more,” she said.
“Foster and kinship caring is a wonderful way to make a real difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable local children and young people in Queensland.”
The independent Queensland Family and Child Commission, supported by an external expert panel, is undertaking a review of the assessment and approval processes for foster carers and the operation of the Blue Card system in Queensland.
Former Director-General of the Department of Communities Linda Apelt has been commissioned to undertake an assessment of the Child Safety Services within Department, including:
*the cuts to the Department from 2012-13 including the loss of 225 positions from Child Safety Services,
*the restoration of frontline and frontline support positions; and
*pressure points in the Department’s service delivery.