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Queensland’s child death review model

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Queensland’s child death review model

On 1 July 2020, a new child death review model commenced in Queensland.

The new model:

  • requires particular agencies to conduct a review of their service provision following the death or serious physical injury of a child (known to the child protection system)
  • establishes the independent Child Death Review Board (CDRB) hosted by the QFCC and tasked to carry out systemic reviews following the death of a child connected to the child protection system.

Agency reviews following the death or serious physical injury of a child known to the child protection system are conducted under Chapter 7A of the Child Protection Act 1999. 

The Act requires agencies (Child Safety, Youth Justice, Education, Queensland Police Service, Queensland Health and the Director of Child Protection Litigation) to carry out a review where a child known to their agency dies or suffers serious physical injury. 

Reviews aim to promote the safety and wellbeing of children who come into contact with the child protection system through:

  • ongoing learning and improvement to services
  • promoting the accountability of agencies and the litigation director
  • collaboration and joint learning across the child protection system.

The Operational Guidelines for agency reviews following the death or serious physical injury of a child provides consistent standards for agencies to carry out reviews and to promote shared learning across the system. The guidelines were developed as a collaboration between the QFCC, the reviewing agencies and the Department of Justice and Attorney General and approved by relevant Directors-General, the Police Commissioner and Director of Child Protection Litigation.

In November 2020, the names of several Queensland government agencies changed to reflect machinery of government changes following the Queensland general election. The operational guidelines refer to the previous names, as they were at the time the guidelines were written. 

The CDRB conducts systemic reviews following the death of a child connected to the child protection system under Part 3A of the Family and Child Commission Act 2014.  

The purpose of the Board’s reviews is to identify opportunities to improve systems, legislation, policies and practices across the child protection system and preventative mechanisms to help protect children and prevent deaths that may be avoidable. 

The CDRB receives reports from each agency and the DCPL that conducted a review following the death of a child. It uses this information, research and data to make system-wide findings and recommendations. The CDRB has several functions and powers to assist them to do this.  

The CDRB procedural guidelines sets out the procedures the Board uses to complete its reviews. Recommendations are published through its annual report.

You can find out more by visiting the Child Death Review Board website.