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Government response to the Carmody Inquiry and the challenges that lie ahead

by PeakCare Qld on 19th December 2013

Home -> Articles -> 2013 -> December -> Government response to the Carmody Inquiry and the challenges that lie ahead

On Monday 16th December, the Queensland Government released its responseto the Child Protection Commission of Inquiry led by the Honourable Tim Carmody SC.

For many, this has been a long journey marked by some major milestones along the way. The first stage of the journey featured the Inquiry itself and culminated in the release of the Commission’s final report, Taking Responsibility: A Roadmap for Queensland Child Protectionon 1st July 2013. The second stage involved the Government considering the finding and recommendations made by the Commission and concluded this week. We are now entering what will possibly be the most demanding stage of all – implementation!

In an overall sense, PeakCare is pleased with the Government’s response to the Carmody Inquiry recommendations. In particular, PeakCare commends Minister Davis’ interpretation of the roadmap as one that will lead to:

  • an increased role for the non-government sector
  • the diversion of families from unwarranted or unnecessarily prolonged involvement with the tertiary end of the system
  • a new family support system
  • an improved practice framework, and
  • the support of young people transitioning from care to independence.

Of the 121 recommendations made by the Commission, the Government has accepted 115 outright and has given in-principle support to the remaining six. PeakCare’s view is that those recommendations where in-principle acceptance has been given are indeed those where further detailed analysis is needed.

Over the past several months, I have lost count of the times when either I have said or I have heard others say when expressing their opinion about certain recommendations that the ‘devil is in the detail’. This is, of course, quite true! The devil will be in the detail and as both the government and non-government sectors prepare to ‘roll up our sleeves’ in readiness for the next stage of actually delivering the recommended reforms, achieving the level of detailed planning needed to ensure that the road ahead leads to improved outcomes for Queensland children, young people and families will be an enormous challenge.

In the midst of this detailed planning, the other major challenge we face lies at the other extreme. It will be about ensuring that our eyes remain fixed on the ‘big picture’ as well as the detail. The much needed reforms will not be successful if transformational changes to the culture of the service system – in its administration by both the government and non-government sectors – do not occur. New mindsets will be needed by policy-makers, administrators and practitioners within both sectors. Moreover, the reforms are unlikely to fully succeed if they are not accompanied by dramatic shifts in how the general public understands and views the child protection system, the support that all families need from time to time and the role that a compassionate, caring and well-informed community must play in achieving the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and their families.

PeakCare members and supporters are advised to rest up over the Christmas and New Year break. Next year promises to be one full of hard work and challenges if the improvements we have been seeking in the child protection system are going to succeed. The changes that are heading our way are likely to affect us all. PeakCare is pleased to have exercised an independent and robust voice during the first two stages of this journey and welcomes the opportunity to continue playing a constructive role now that the third stage is about to commence.

Lindsay Wegener

Executive Director, PeakCare