The findings of the Inquiry

The Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry final report Taking responsibility: a roadmap for Queensland child protection (PDF)* was released on 1 July 2013.

The inquiry found that the perception of a system under stress is justified. Over the past decade, child protection intakes have tripled, the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care has tripled, the total number of children in out-of-home care has more than doubled, and children in care are staying there for longer periods.

The commission identified three main causes of system failure:

  • too little money spent on early intervention to support vulnerable families
  • a widespread risk-averse culture that focuses too heavily on coercive instead of supportive strategies and overreacts/overcompensates for hostile media and community scrutiny
  • a tendency from all parts of society to shift responsibility on to Child Safety.

It also found that 80 per cent of current reports to Child Safety do not reach the threshold for notification, which means a lot of time and effort is spent on investigating whether a child has been harmed when those efforts could be more productively directed to family support services.

It concluded that wherever possible, it is better for a child, family and the community if the child can stay safely at home.

The overarching message of the report is that parents (and families) should take primary responsibility for the protection of their children and that, where appropriate, parents should receive support and guidance to keep their children safe. Government should intervene in a statutory role as a last resort to ensure the protection of children who are at significant risk of harm.

The commission made 121 recommendations for change in the child protection system and provided government with a detailed roadmap about how the reform process should be undertaken.

The final report highlights the importance to the successful implementation of the reforms of strong collaborative partnerships between government and the non-government sectors.

* This publication was produced prior to the current government.

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