Child Safety families speak up in survey first21 September
- More than 320 Queensland parents and family members have shared their views and experiences about the state’s child protection system, with survey results published this week.
- Their responses suggest more needs to be done to improve their experiences of the system, embed their rights in child protection practice in Queensland, and empower them to provide care for children.
- This is the first survey of its kind, providing new and important insights that will help to evaluate the effectiveness of the system and provide a baseline to inform recommended improvements into the future.
The Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC) and Micah Projects’ Family Inclusion Network Southeast Queensland have teamed up to launch the first ever Parent Voice survey.
The survey gave parents and families involved in Queensland’s child protection system an opportunity to provide feedback on their experiences of Child Safety processes and about how well the system upholds their rights set out in the Charter of Rights for parents.
The charter details the rights every parent has when they are involved in a child protection matter, including the right to be involved in decisions that impact them and their families; the right to maintain connection to community, Country and culture; and the right to have access to appropriate services and information.
The survey revealed some positive results, but it also highlighted that parents and families feel more needs to be done, particularly around providing them with cultural and family support, treating them respectfully, and better including them in decisions.
Of the 324 Queensland parents and family members who responded to the survey:
- 65% said information and decisions were explained clearly to them
- 55% agreed their personal information was treated respectfully and sensitively
- 53% agreed they were given the best possible opportunities to have contact with their child to continue forging a positive and healthy relationship
- 47% felt they were treated fairly
- 45% had access to family support services
- 45% felt recognised and respected
- 45% had a say in the support provided to their family
- 39% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents felt their culture, background and practices were respected, understood and considered in decisions made about their family
- 37% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents agreed they were able to maintain and strengthen their connections to language, family, community, Country and culture.
This is the first survey of its kind, providing new and important insights that will help to assess the effectiveness of the child protection system and provide a baseline to inform future recommendations for improvements.
The results of the Parent Voice survey are available on the QFCC website.
Quotes attributed to QFCC Principal Commissioner Luke Twyford:
“For the system to be effective, families need to feel the responses and support they receive meet their needs.
“We do not achieve child safety by excluding and isolating parents; key to understanding whether the system is achieving good outcomes is by listening to their views and experiences.
“I am thankful that parents and family members had the courage and made time to speak up and share their views, and I appreciate the collaboration with the Family Inclusion Network Southeast Queensland.
“A key goal of the system is to work towards reunifying children safely with their parents, which is why we need to provide every opportunity to support and empower parents to care for their children.
“That means providing them with helpful information in ways they understand, acknowledging the trauma they have experienced in being separated from their child and treating them respectfully, involving them in decisions about their families, and supporting First Nations families to maintain connections to culture.
“The results of this survey suggest we can do more to meet these needs and better support families, and I encourage all child protection practitioners in Queensland to consider how we can work together to improve outcomes for families in need.”
Quotes attributed to Micah Projects CEO Karyn Walsh
“Micah Projects congratulates the Queensland Family and Child Commission on instigating this survey and highlighting the Charter of Rights for parents.
“A human rights approach in child protection recognises that families are the central unit in society.
“The Charter of Rights for parents was launched only one year ago, so it is most encouraging to see 34 per cent of those surveyed were aware of the charter.
“The Charter of Rights for parents is a practical tool to help families navigate this stressful time, and we encourage parents and workers to use it as a ‘checklist’ to create shared understanding.
“The survey found 45 per cent of respondents received family support that helped their family. This is an area that must improve.
“We need a ‘two-generational’ approach to supporting families so that children and young people can stay with, or return to, their parents.
“Supporting children at the same time as we work with their parents creates a stronger family unit and builds for them an ongoing, helping network for the future.”
For media information contact:
Kirstine O’Donnell | Queensland Family and Child Commission
Phone: 0404 971 164