Following the death of Tiahleigh Palmer, a child in foster care (see our When a child is missing from out-of-home care page for further information), the Premier requested a comprehensive examination of the blue card and foster care services in Queensland.
Principal Commissioner Cheryl Vardon led an Expert Panel to deliver this review. The QFCC was asked to pay particular attention to the use of, and reliance on, Working with Children Checks (blue cards) and other information in the assessment and approval process for foster carers in Queensland.
In addition, under the Terms of Reference, a separate review was conducted to address capacity issues and pressure points in the child safety system.
The reports were released in September 2017 and made a range of recommendations to improve safeguards for children.
Review of the blue card system report
Queensland’s blue card system has always been one of the strongest in Australia.
The review found that while the blue card system is a strong foundation for creating safe environments for children, it could be stronger and more efficient.
The Review of the blue card system report (PDF, 8.43MB) makes 81 recommendations that will introduce significant changes to the blue card system.
The recommendations are intended to strengthen and streamline the blue card system. They will also build capacity of, and support for, organisations and people involved in it.
Ultimately, Queensland’s children will be safer doing activities that help them grow, learn and develop.
Review of the foster care system report
In Queensland, the process for being approved as a foster or kinship carer is rigorous. However, we can learn from experience and we can improve.
In conducting this review, the QFCC consulted with people and groups with expertise and interest in the foster care system including carers, children with a current or previous care experience and government and non-government agencies, and undertook broader community consultations.
The Review of the foster care system report (PDF, 6.84MB) makes 42 recommendations that will introduce a number of changes to the foster care system.
The recommendations are intended to strengthen carer assessment, approval and renewal processes, and the safeguards for children in care. They will also help to build and maintain the public’s confidence in the foster care system.
Ultimately, they will make sure that Queensland’s most vulnerable children will be provided with safe and supportive homes by a system that works together to give children the best possible future.
We are working with our partner agencies to monitor the ongoing implementation of recommendations.
Strengthening capacity across Queensland’s Child Protection System report
Linda Apelt, a member of the Expert Panel, was asked to undertake a review of child safety services to determine whether it was operating effectively, and to determine any capacity issues or pressure points which may impact the safety needs of children in the child protection system.
The Strengthening capacity across Queensland’s Child Protection System report (PDF, 9.85MB) presents a 6-point action plan focused on funding, staffing, court reforms, non-government services, collaboration and change management.