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Inquiry Hopes and Fears

by PeakCare Qld on 26th June 2013

Home -> Articles -> 2013 -> June -> Inquiry Hopes and Fears

In the final week or so leading up to the release of the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry (the Inquiry) report by 30 June 2013, PeakCare invited member agencies, supporters, eNews readers and others to tell us about your hopes and fears about the recommendations.

So far, respondents have told us that they are hoping for recommendations about prevention, early intervention and secondary services to keep children out of the system or to return them quickly to family, support for young people with their transition to independence to age 21, an extended range of shared family and out of home care models, rewarding (not financially penalising) carers when children’s behaviours improve, and more support for carers with long term guardianship of children, the children themselves and their parents. An outcomes focus to the licensing process for out of home care services has been mentioned, as well as making Child Safety Officers’ caseloads more manageable and increasing the Child Guardian’s powers to monitor the quality of care provided to children.

Serious reservations have been expressed about the possible introduction of secure care which, it is asserted, would “criminalise young people’s care under the guide of therapeutic interventions”. On the question of adopting children from care, views have been mixed with arguments for (where parents are uncooperative or unable to make the changes required to care for their children) and against (children become further marginalised, feel unloved and unadoptable).

Specific reforms noted that the Inquiry might recommend to improve the system include the Department outsourcing all but forensic investigations to non-government organisations, investing in workforce skills and planning, and properly supporting families with practical assistance and other services to achieve case plan goals and have their children returned.

In respect of reducing the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in the system, hopes have been expressed that the Inquiry will stress the development of community-based responses and the training of non-Indigenous workers to better understand and address prejudices, and to work in culturally respectful ways.

Hopes have also been expressed that the Inquiry will recommend that the implementation of responses to the Inquiry’s recommendations will be jointly planned and driven by the government and non-government sectors and that there will be rigorous monitoring of their implementation.

If you agree or disagree with the feedback we have received so far or wish to add your opinions about your hopes or fears about the Inquiry’s recommendations, feel free to enter your comments below or complete this questionnaire and email it to tsmith@peakcare.org.au.

You are also invited to read a related article published this week in the Courier Mail. See if your expectations about the recommendations to be made by the Inquiry match with what you were hoping for.

Tracey Smith

Principal Policy Adviser, PeakCare Queensland