Child removals on the increase

17 Nov 2008 3:53 PMJann Stuckey

More children were taken from their families last year than ever before by the Department of Child Safety, the department’s annual report has revealed.

LNP Child Protection Spokeswoman Jann Stuckey said despite its cute glossy photos and hollow statements, the 2007-08 Child Safety Annual Report was sobering reading.

“The Minister can try to dilute the serious issues of child protection with sleek catchy phrases and empty releases, but the reality is more staff are leaving the department and more children are being taken into care,” Ms Stuckey said.

“The number of children living in and out-of-home care blew out to more than 7,100 in 2007-08 compared to 6,493 in 2006-07.

“Alarmingly, the report identified a 10 per cent jump in the number of children subject to protective orders.

“Nearly 19 per cent of the department continue to shut themselves in central office away from the front line, despite a record 35 per cent increase in staff leaving Child Safety last financial year.

“Absence of staff turnover figures in the annual report shows just how little the Bligh Labor Government cares about this frightening trend.

“This year’s report has also neglected to disclose the type of abuse children are suffering, failing to show whether children are experiencing physical, sexual or emotional abuse or neglect.

“The Beattie-Bligh Government have removed such important details in an attempt to water down this year’s report.

“Queenslanders and child safety staff don’t want a soft report, they want a functioning department and better child safety results.

“Jobs in frontline child protection are enormously stressful, but also highly rewarding. Resources within the department should be better directed to staff support, such as offering stress management and work-life balance courses and career incentives,” Mrs Stuckey said.

17 November 2008

Media contact:
Jann Stuckey 0439 755 919