For too long, Child Safety has been under-resourced.
Currently, Child Safety funding is based on population growth and not on what should count – intakes responded to and cases opened. We know that the demographics and issues of a lot of Queensland communities have changed dramatically, but funding for Child Safety hasn’t.
We hope that the reviews commissioned last year, due to report back in the next couple of weeks, will recommend more resources for Child Safety. However we can’t keep up this reactive cycle – of funding boosts as a band-aid quick fix.
Queensland’s at-risk children need a sustainable tertiary system to ensure that they have the best possible opportunity to have a safe and healthy childhood. The only way to do this is to ensure that what matters is being counted – and that means the number of intakes responded to and cases opened, not population growth.
Yes, a sustainable Child Safety means that there are reasonable workloads for all Child Safety Service Centre staff, and other key departmental and NGO supports – but more importantly it means that children in care have access to things we, as a decent society, should be able to provide.
Things like: buying a meal for a child in care while they’re on a supervised visit. Ensuring that children in care can get braces if they need to. Getting presents on their birthday like their classmates do.
Child Safety’s current funding means that, firstly, it’s difficult for Child Safety workers to work with at-risk families and intervene when needed; and, if children do need to be brought into care, for the department to provide them with basic human comforts in many cases.