More child safety workers for Rockhampton
AN EXTRA five frontline child safety workers will begin work in Rockhampton by March next year.
This is part of a continued push to improve the child protection system and keep Queensland children safe.
Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman said the Palaszczuk Government is investing a further $7.8 million annually to hire 82 new permanent child safety workers across the state to bring down caseloads and to keep Queensland children safe.
"This includes three child safety officers and two child safety support officers for the Rockhampton Child Safety Service Centre,” she said.
"Our child safety staff are dedicated and hard-working people and the work they are doing is increasingly complex. Staff are working more intensively with families and that work is taking longer.
"We are committed to restoring confidence in this system and to ensuring that all service centres across the state have the resources and the staff needed to keep children safe.
"These additional staff will assist existing 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.
"They 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.”
Member for Rockhampton Bill Byrne said the announcement of additional staff showed the Government was listening to the needs of the community.
"When a child is suffering, our community suffers. Additional staff will mean increased support for local families, and better outcomes for our kids.”
These staff are in addition to the 166 employed by Child Safety Services over the last two years and on top of the 47 extra staff allocated in the 2016-17 Budget and to be employed by the end of the year across the state.
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
The new staff come as Ms Fentiman today released the latest child safety performance data to June 30, 2016, which shows some early signs of improvement but that more needs to be done to keep children safe.
"The latest June data shows more than 90 per cent of notifications in 2015-16 had an investigation commenced. This is a significant improvement on the March quarter data, which was at 85.2 per cent, and reflects the work done since last year to address investigation and assessment timeframes,” Ms Fentiman said.
"However, commencement timeframes are still not where they need to be. The overall proportion of investigations and assessments that started within the response timeframe was 35 per cent. This is not good enough.
"That's why we have invested in an additional 129 frontline and frontline support child safety workers since June to bring down caseloads from an average of 19 to 17, and to keep Queensland children safe.
"These new staff will be further supported by the rollout of specialist investigation teams, which are commencing work to drive better response times and enable frontline child safety staff to spend more time with vulnerable families.”