The Child Protection Act 1999 requires certain professionals, referred to as ‘mandatory reporters’, to make a report to Child Safety, if they form a reasonable suspicion that a child has suffered, is suffering or is at an unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm caused by physical or sexual abuse, and may not have a parent able and willing to protect them.
Mandatory reporters should also report to Child Safety a reasonable suspicion that a child is in need of protection caused by any other form of abuse or neglect.
Under the Child Protection Act 1999, mandatory reporters are:
Teachers include approved teachers under the Education (Queensland College of Teachers) Act 2005, employed at a school.
Doctors and nurses include those employed in both the public and private health sectors.
Child Safety employees and employees of licensed care services are mandated to report a reasonable suspicion that a child in care has suffered, is suffering or is at an unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm caused by physical or sexual abuse.
The department must provide notifiers from government or non-government agencies, which includes mandatory reporters, with information about the departmental response to child protection concerns reported (Child Protection Act 1999 , section 159M). The notifier is to be asked whether they require feedback at the time of the initial contact with the department. If the notifier requests feedback the department must:
From 1 July 2017, early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals will be mandated by law to report child safety concerns to the department, where there is a reasonable suspicion that the child has suffered, is suffering, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering, significant harm caused by physical or sexual abuse, and there is not a parent willing and able to protect the child from harm.
ECEC professionals include staff from family day care, kindergarten, limited-hours care, long day care and after-school hours care. Individuals who are volunteers or under 18 years of age are not mandatory reporters.
ECEC professionals are not prescribed entities and cannot refer families to Family and Child Connect or an intensive family support service without their consent. If concerns about a family do not meet the legislative threshold for reporting to the department, ECEC professionals are encouraged to refer families to support services, with their consent.
The department is working with the Department of Education and Training to develop an implementation strategy to prepare the ECEC sector for the legislative changes and enable professionals to confidently report or refer vulnerable children and families to the right services at the right time.
A series of information sheets have been developed to support ECEC professionals in their role as mandatory reporters: