Rockhampton to scrutinise child protection services
QUEENSLAND'S child protection system will come under public scrutiny in Rockhampton this week.
The Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry Tim Carmody is due to hear from Central Queensland witnesses in the Rockhampton District Court from tomorrow until Thursday.
He will also meet foster care children in a series of focus groups organised by the CREATE Foundation.
The inquiry began on July 1 and has attracted more than 50 submissions.
In its submission, the Queensland Council of Social Services says the cost of child protection services and Out of Home Care are increasing at an unsustainable rate, with little investment in prevention.
"Unless serious efforts are made to address the multiple risk factors characterising vulnerable families, rates of child abuse and neglect will only increase and the cost of the child protection system will continue to rise," it says.
"The child protection system must be redesigned to place greater emphasis on prevention and early intervention."
The Queensland Child Death Case Review Committee, which reviews the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services review of child deaths, has also made a submission.
It says that since 2008, it has identified two cases in which the death of a child could be linked to serious deficiencies in the department's service delivery.
It also idenfitied a further 10 cases in which while there was no direct link between the department's service delivery and the child's death, but there was an inadequate response to the safety and wellbeing needs of the child.
The committee acknowledged improvements in the department's reviews and noted the majority were sufficient. But it said that in 2011-2012, four reviews were not, and six contained errors.
In relation to one of the four insufficient reviews, the committee found it did not "appropriately address a number of service delivery practices, including a decision to place the child with a relative who was alleged to have perpetrated sexual abuse, without adequate investigation".
The public hearing is part of a regional road show to allow the commission to discuss local issues with local people.
The hearings are open to the public and will be streamed live via the commission website.
The Hon Tim Carmody must provide a written report with recommendations to the Premier by 30 April 2013.
The hearing will focus on seeking evidence on service delivery to the Central Queensland region from departmental and health witnesses as well as private professionals in relation to their work in the child protection system.
If anyone has information that could assist the inquiry, an online form can be obtained on the commission's website.