Child Protection Commission of Inquiry

The Queensland Government established the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry (the Commission of Inquiry) on 1 July 2012 to review if the Queensland child protection system was best supporting vulnerable children and young people. The Commission of Inquiry was led by the Honourable Tim Carmody QC.

The Commission of Inquiry was charged with:

  • reviewing the entire child protection system, and making affordable, sustainable, deliverable and effective recommendations for legislative and operational reforms
  • charting a roadmap for achieving a new child protection system over the next decade.

Commission of Inquiry findings and final report

The Commission of Inquiry released its final report —Taking Responsibility: A Road Map for Queensland Child Protection (PDF, 11.1MB) to the Queensland Government in July 2013.

Although a lot of hard work, good intentions, and large amounts of money were invested since 2000, the Commission of Inquiry found that the Queensland child protection system didn't ensure the safety, wellbeing and best interests of children as best it could. The 3 reasons identified for this were:

  1. More money needed to be spent on early intervention to support vulnerable families.
  2. A widespread risk-adverse culture that focuses too heavily on coercive instead of supportive strategies and overreacts to (or over compensates for) hostile media and community scrutiny.
  3. A tendency from all parts of society to shift responsibility onto (the department of) Child Safety.

The Commission of Inquiry also found that over the past decade:

  • child protection intakes have tripled
  • the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care has tripled
  • the number of children in out-of-home care has more than doubled
  • children in care are staying there for longer periods
  • the budget for child protection services has more than tripled, going from $182.3 million in 2003–04 to $773 million in 2012–13.

Child Protection Reform Roadmap

The Commission of Inquiry's report had 121 recommendations and included the Child Protection Reform Roadmap (the roadmap), which detailed how the reform process should be actioned.

The roadmap groups the recommendations into actions under 3 strategies:

  1. Reduce the number of children and young people in the child protection system.
  2. Revitalise child protection frontline services and family support, breaking the intergenerational cycle of abuse and neglect.
  3. Refocus oversight on learning, improving and taking responsibility.

The goals of the roadmap are:

  1. For parents and families to protect and care for their children.
  2. Where there are no acceptable alternatives, children and young people are taken into care and protected and cared for.

The Commission of Inquiry saw that strong collaborative partnerships between the government and the non-government sector was needed to action the roadmap:

"Implementing the roadmap should not be the responsibility of Child Safety alone.

All agencies providing human services must take responsibility for child protection outcomes. The roadmap includes designated activities to be performed by other government agencies and the non-government sector."

Government response

The Queensland Government considered the merits and impacts of each recommendation and released its response to the report in December 2013 (Queensland Government response to the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry final report (PDF, 634KB)). The Queensland Government accepted 115 of the Commission's recommendations in full and the remaining 6 recommendations in-principle.

The Queensland Government committed $406 million in new funding over the 5 years from 2014-15 to 2018-19 to implementing the Commission of Inquiry child protection reforms.

Inquiry recommendations 

The QFCC was established as part of Recommendation 12.3 of the Commission of Inquiry and is responsible for implementing a number of the Inquiry’s recommendations, including:

Social marketing campaign – ‘Talking Families’

Recommendation 1.1

Deliver a public communication strategy, using a social marketing approach, to raise community awareness, and encourage positive shifts in attitude and behaviour around the role of families and communities vs. the state in providing the best care and protection for children.

Talking Families is an ongoing initiative of ours. Visit www.talkingfamilies.qld.gov.au or the Facebook community for more information.  

Resources and information 

Recommendation 13.26

Develop key resources and information for children and families to assist their understanding of the child protection system and their rights within that system.

We’ve developed:

Community Services Directory

Recommendation 6.1

Develop a Community Services Directory which will enable families and children to easily access services in their local area and will provide those government agencies and non-government service providers with an overview of services for referral and planning purposes.

The oneplace Community Services Directory lists thousands of service providers and allows families and children to search for local support. 

Cultural change plan

Recommendation 12.15

Co-lead the development of sector-wide cultural change management with the child protection Reform Leaders Group.

The More than safe commitment outlines how the sector can work together so children, families and communities are cared for, protected, safe and able to reach their full potential.

The Strengthening our sector first and second action plans highlight further initiatives strengthening professional culture. 

Workforce Planning and Development Strategy 

Recommendation 10.7

Lead the development of a cross sector Workforce Planning and Development Strategy in collaboration with government and non-government partners, which will include a range of workforce initiatives including qualifications standards, academic, training and professional development projects across various levels of the sector.

We’ve been working with the sector to strengthen our workforce and strengthen organisations through a range of initiatives, including the career promotion strategy, career and capability framework and industry development agenda.

Capacity Building and Governance Strategy 

Recommendation 6.6

Lead the development of a Capacity Building and Governance Strategy for non-government agencies, especially those with limited resources.

We’ve been working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Organisations (CCOs) to help shape a more sustainable child and family support system. It’s helping us to understand how the system needs to change to help them grow and flourish. Find out more about our work with CCOs.

3-year rolling research program 

Recommendation 12.13

Develop a research program, in consultation with experts, which will contribute to knowledge and practice in child protection.

We’ve worked with key stakeholders and agencies to develop a rolling 3-year research agenda to inform child protection policy and practice.

Our Research in the Round forums showcase the work of key Australian researchers who focus on vulnerable children and families.

Search the Knowledge and Resource Hub for research summaries and scans, reviews, submissions and more.

Evaluation Framework 

Recommendation 12.14

Develop a framework to provide an overall architecture for the evaluation of services and outcomes for vulnerable families and children.

The QFCC is responsible for evaluating the child protection reforms at the program-level at the Year 3 (2017-18), Year 5 (2018-19) and Year 10 (2023-24) time points. We also convene the Queensland Family and Child Evaluation Community of Practice. 

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12 July 2018