Families left out of child protection decisions

8 Oct 2008 10:14 AMJann Stuckey

Families left out of child protection decisions

The Bligh Labor Government has been blasted for ignoring a landmark report advocating greater parental involvement in child protection decisions.

LNP Shadow Child Safety Minister Jann Stuckey has questioned why the Bligh Labor Government had failed to act on the recommendations of the Family Inclusion Network report since it was released in October 2007.

Ms Stuckey said the $90,000 report, commissioned by the Department of Child Safety, addressed key issues raised in the 2004 CMC inquiry into the abuse of children in foster care.

“If the Bligh Labor Government is serious about reducing the soaring incidence of child abuse in Queensland, they should immediately adopt the report’s recommendations,” she said.

“A group of respected industry professionals completed this comprehensive report almost a year ago and all the Child Safety Minister can say is that her Department is still ‘considering’ the document.”

The Family Inclusion Network report makes the following key
recommendations:

* “Develop a Statement of Commitment by the Department of Child
Safety to partnering with parents”;
“Introduce a greater parental inclusion in child protection case management”; and “Adopt a co-ordinated approach by Queensland Government to ensure the wellbeing of children inclusive of their protection and safety by addressing child poverty and social exclusion.”

“Why is the Minister not adopting these recommendations that were developed in cooperation with both the non-government sector, parents and child safety officers?” Ms Stuckey asked.

“Their overwhelming message is that there is insufficient help available within existing structures to assist parents of children who are taken into care.

“The Family Inclusion Network in Child Protection Practice Report has put some practical recommendations on the table that are supported by industry professionals and the Minister won’t implement them.

“Failure to approve these results almost one year after they were presented to the Minister shows once again that she does not understand the critical importance of family involvement, viewing her Department as an investigative reporting agency.

“Working with families and parents of children under the care of child safety is vital if we are to significantly reduce the rate of re-entry into the child protection system.  Building strong resilient families will ultimately lower the level of child abuse and neglect.”

Media Contact – Jann Stuckey 0439 755 919
8 October 2008