More chil­dren in pro­tec­tive ser­vices

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

A GROW­ING num­ber of chil­dren are in pro­tec­tive cus­tody be­cause of ice use, new State Gov­ern­ment statis­tics re­veal.

The data shows the trend iden­ti­fied last year is con­tin­u­ing, and an in­creased num­ber of chil­dren have gone into care as a re­sult of parental drug use.

In the year up to March, 782 chil­dren needed pro­tec­tion as a re­sult of one or both of their par­ents us­ing metham­phetamine, up from 749 chil­dren in the year to De­cem­ber.

Child Safety Min­is­ter Shan­non Fen­ti­man re­vealed the new fig­ures as part of the March quar­terly data re­port.

Ms Fen­ti­man said the fig­ures showed how rapidly the drug ice da­m­ages fam­i­lies and leaves vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren at risk.

“The data shows that the ma­jor­ity of chil­dren where parental ice use was recorded the par­ent had only re­cently started abus­ing the drug,” Ms Fen­ti­man said.

“This shows just how dev­as­tat­ing this drug is and that is why we are do­ing so much to tar­get the use of this par­tic­u­lar drug so we can tackle it head-on.”

Among these fam­i­lies, metham­phetamine use was more com­mon than abuse of any other drug, in­clud­ing al­co­hol.

Ten years ago al­co­hol was the most abused sub­stance, fol­lowed by mar­i­juana and heroin.

The new data un­der­lined the im­por­tance of a broad com­mu­nity ef­fort fo­cused on child safety, with re­fer­rals from a range of sources.

“Ice use con­tin­ues to be a prob­lem and more par­ents are be­ing tested so we can iden­tify those caus­ing harm,” Ms Fen­ti­man said.

More chil­dren are be­ing af­fected by ice use.

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