DECEIT: Shadow Child Safety Minister Ros Bates has claimed the mandatory drug testing of parents is actually voluntary.
DECEIT: Shadow Child Safety Minister Ros Bates has claimed the mandatory drug testing of parents is actually voluntary. monkeybusinessimages

Rocky ice addicts allowed to keep their kids: claim

IN THE latest war-of-words over 'ice parents', explosive claims have been made the Child Safety Department is deceiving the public.

Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman, announced a new policy in November last year requiring parents with drug problems who were at the attention of Child Services to undergo regular mandatory drug testing.

When Shadow Child Safety Minister Ros Bates visited Rockhampton yesterday, she claimed Ms Fentiman had misled the public as the drug testing was actually voluntary.

"The minister came out and said some months ago that all of the families that were under an Intervention with Parental Agreement... that those families would undergo mandatory drug testing," Ms Bates said.

"The minister says it mandatory, but here on the ground today I've been told the drug testing is still voluntary."

Ms Bates also said she asked the minister "on notice" for figures on drug testing, but was told the department wasn't collecting the data.

This claim was made in spite of several reports by The Courier Mail detailing fail rates and testing numbers which were provided to them by the department.

Ms Fentiman denied claims the testing was voluntary and said more than 500 tests had been conducted in Queensland since the policy was introduced - of 198 tests completed in March, around 60% were positive.

"Where drugs are a concern in a family the department are working with, it is mandatory for the parents to participate in a drug test," Ms Fentiman said.

"If a parent refuses to be drug tested, an Intervention with Parental Agreement is off-the-table. If a parent fails a test, a more intrusive order or intervention is sought.

"As departmental officers explained to Ms Bates during her visit, mandatory drug testing takes place in Rockhampton."

These testing figures are just the newest in a series of damning statistics highlighting the struggle Queensland faces against ice.

Last Thursday, Ms Fentiman released data which revealed of 749 children who had a parent using ice, 60% were under five.

The most common type of substantiated harm against children from their parents who were ice users is neglect (59%), emotional (29%), physical (11%) and sexual (1%).



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