When a child is missing from out-of-home care

Following the disappearance and subsequent death of Tiahleigh Palmer in November 2015, we conducted a whole-of-government systems review to identify:

  • Could more have been done when concerns were first raised about Tiahleigh’s disappearance?
  • How can systems be improved to provide timely and appropriate information that is actioned responsively when critical incidents occur?

Our review examined current legislative frameworks, policies and guidelines for government agencies in sharing information and responding when a child living in out-of-home care is missing or absent from their placement.

In conducting the review, we worked closely with government agencies including the Queensland Police Service, Child Safety Services, the Department of Education and Training, Queensland Health, the Office of the Public Guardian and the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation. We also worked with non-government agencies throughout the review, specifically Bravehearts, CREATE Foundation, Foster Care Queensland, the Family Inclusion Network and the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak.

The report When a Child is Missing: Remembering Tiahleigh – A report into Queensland’s children missing from out-of-home care (PDF, 4.49MB) summarises the review’s findings and makes 29 recommendations to achieve whole-of-government system improvements in responding to children missing from out-of-home care. The recommendations are designed to provide quality systems and improved responses through revised policies and procedures, a marked cultural shift across agencies, enhanced media campaigns and improved information sharing between agencies.

All 29 recommendations have now been implemented. The QFCC continues to work closely with agencies to monitor how these recommendations are operating to improve responses to children who are missing or absent from their out-of-home care placement.

Recommendation 28 Supplementary Review

Recommendation 28 of the When a Child is Missing report required the QFCC to conduct a supplementary review of information sharing in Queensland. Focusing on regulated home-based service environments, the Recommendation 28 - Supplementary Review (PDF, 213KB) report makes 17 recommendations to improve information sharing and develop stronger safeguards for children.

The recommendations suggest changes to legislation, policies and procedures to:

  • increase visibility of home-based services to support regulation and monitoring    
  • improve information sharing between agencies about potential risks to children so that we can respond earlier 
  • strengthen processes for assessing the suitability of individuals who provide services to children from their home.

Work is underway to implement these recommendations.

10 July 2018