Landmark report reviews children’s rights in Queensland21 August 2023
- The Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC) has released the Queensland Child Rights Report 2023.
- The inaugural report highlights Queensland’s achievements in upholding children’s rights and identifies areas for improvement.
- The report calls for the implementation of a comprehensive Children’s Plan in Queensland, which would coordinate strategies and actions across government to better protect, promote and uphold children’s rights.
The state of children’s rights in Queensland has been detailed for the first time in a new report released by the QFCC.
The inaugural report analyses how Queensland upholds children’s rights, and it identifies the changes needed to embed a child rights approach across government policy, legislation and systems to deliver better, more equitable outcomes for Queensland children.
The report explores child rights issues the QFCC has observed in its statutory role, including a special chapter that focuses on Queensland’s youth justice system and assesses Queensland’s compliance with its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
It emphasises the urgent attention needed to improve Queensland’s youth justice system and address the persistent over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.
The report also analyses issues relating to children’s civil rights and freedoms; violence against children; the child protection system; disability, health and welfare; and education and play.
It highlights Queensland’s achievements in embedding a rights-based approach, including enacting the Queensland Human Rights Act 2019, expressing a commitment to First Nations Peoples through the Path to Treaty Act 2023, and action to address gender-based violence, but it also shows there is more work to be done to protect and promote children’s rights in Queensland.
Areas for improvement in Queensland include the need for improved data collection relating to violence against children, independent oversight for permanency decisions relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, better services for children with disabilities, and more equitable and inclusive practices in housing, health care, mental health services, education, and school disciplinary measures.
The report calls for the government to implement a comprehensive Children’s Plan for Queensland, which would detail specific strategies and actions required across government and sectors, ensure strong coordination and collaboration between agencies, and direct resources and investment to the areas of greatest need.
A Children’s Plan would allow Queensland to effectively measure its performance and progress in advancing children’s rights and maximise the positive impact it has on children’s lives.
The topics explored in the report align with reporting tools used by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, which regularly reviews the steps Australia has taken to enact the UNCRC.
The conclusions presented in the report are underpinned by a detailed analysis of available administrative data, qualitative insights, and legislative, policy and financial information for the 12-month period between July 2021 and June 2022.
The QFCC will proactively monitor Queensland’s progress in upholding children’s rights and plans on releasing its assessment annually.
This report was independently evaluated by a panel comprising three child rights experts from across Australia, whose assessments contributed to the information and conclusions.
To view the Queensland Child Rights Report 2023, visit https://www.qfcc.qld.gov.au/child-rights/report
Quotes attributable to QFCC Commissioner Natalie Lewis:
“The Child Rights Report marks a significant milestone in the QFCC’s child rights agenda and represents an important first step in Queensland’s journey towards becoming a truly child rights affirming state.
“Children’s rights are important—they are the promises we as a nation made to children more than 32 years ago when Australia signed the UNCRC, and we owe it to them to do what we said we would do.
“This report shows how far Queensland has come in upholding children’s rights, but it also tells us that there is more work to be done so that all Queensland children can experience equitable enjoyment of their rights, particularly in the areas of youth justice, education, health and youth participation.
“By using a rights-based approach, we can more effectively identify and address issues that impact upon the lives of children and young people, particularly those who experience vulnerability, injustice and marginalisation.
“Children’s needs do not fit neatly into government portfolios; the solutions to the issues that impact children’s lives require effort from multiple government departments, yet we don’t have a mechanism in place to achieve this.
“A Children’s Plan for Queensland would provide a single point of coordination, commitment and accountability across government agencies, while centring the child and their rights in all government decisions.
“This report serves as a valuable resource for policymakers, professionals, and stakeholders involved in promoting the wellbeing and rights of children and young people.”
For media information contact:
Kirstine O’Donnell | Queensland Family and Child Commission
Phone: 0404 971 164