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    Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
    The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

    Data shows the system is keeping kids safe, and the LNP knows it

    Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
    The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

    Friday, May 19, 2017

    Data shows the system is keeping kids safe, and the LNP knows it

    The Palaszczuk Government’s investment in child safety to restore the system has been acknowledged by the same people who drastically cut services and staff during its time in office – the Liberal National Party.

    Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman said the Palaszczuk Government was restoring frontline services that were gutted by the LNP – including in local child safety service centres, as well as services in the community.

    “We have employed an extra 129 new child safety staff this year alone, after the LNP cut 225,” she said.

    “Here in Central Queensland we have employed an additional 11 child safety staff.

    “This will help drive down caseloads and improve response times even further.”

    Ms Fentiman said the system was working to protect vulnerable children before abuse or neglect occurred, with the latest data showing there were 535 fewer children in need of protection in 2016 compared to the year before.

    “What this tells us is that the system that is designed to protect children and prevent abuse is heading in the right direction,” she said.

    “Fewer children are being found to be at risk of harm and fewer children are being found to be in need of protection.

    Ms Fentiman said the Opposition spokeswoman Ros Bates says one thing when she goes to Child Safety Service Centres on her own, and another when she is surrounded by her LNP colleagues in Emerald.

    “Ros Bates needs to stop playing politics with the Child Safety Centres she visits across Queensland,” she said.

    “Our child safety staff are some of the hardest working people in this state, and she needs to stop playing politics and detracting from the outstanding work they do every day to keep children safe.

    “So far we haven’t heard a single idea from Ros Bates.

    “But what we do know is that during the first year of the LNP government more than 24 positions were cut from child safety in Central Queensland, and funding was cut to local services including $480,000 from the local Anglicare service.”

    In the local area the Palaszczuk Government is already spending $3.5 million in 2016-17 in family and community support services to help parents – including increased funding to local family support and foster care support agencies like Anglicare - Central Queensland – based at Emerald.

    “This will help parents address small problems before they become large ones, and it will also support foster carers,” Ms Fentiman said.

    “This funding will be provided to local family support and foster care support agencies like Anglicare which is based in Emerald.

    “This year we have built on our investment in Central Queensland, with new services supporting financial literacy and resilience, domestic and family violence prevention services, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Family Wellbeing Community Services worth more than $5.2 million over the next five years.”

    Ms Fentiman said alarmingly ice was a major issue affecting Central Queensland families, which was an emerging “ice corridor”.

    “We know 95 children found to be in need of protection in 2016 in Central Queensland had a parent using the drug ice,” she said.

    “15 of those children were in Emerald.”

    Alarmingly, across the state 60 per cent of children whose parents were using ice were aged under five.

    “That’s why we introduced tough new mandatory drug testing for parents who want to keep their children at home, and I make no apologies for being tough on parents who are doing the wrong thing,” Ms Fentiman said.

    But help is available to families who are struggling, and Ms Fentiman said any Central Queensland family who needed a helping hand should contact 13 FAMILY (13 32 64) and they would be connected with their local Family and Child connect Service.

    Child Safety data is published quarterly and can be found on this page:

    https://www.communities.qld.gov.au/childsafety/about-us/our-performance

     

    ENDS

     

    Media Contact: 0400 200 641