Child safety figures a mixed bag
MORE than 2800 cases of suspected child abuse were flagged with authorities in the region covering Toowoomba in the year to September.
The latest Department of Child Safety data for South West Queensland shows 2826 reports of alleged harm or risk of harm requiring investigation in the September 2016 quarter, with 914 cases substantiated.
This was 91 fewer reports than the 2917 recorded in the previous three months, but 296 more than September 2015 for the region, taking in Roma, Ipswich, Toowoomba and Warwick.
The figures showed 1118 children on long-term protection orders – one more than the June quarter and 32 more than a year earlier.
Across Queensland the proportion of investigations starting on time increased from 35% to 38% – the first improvement in three years – with 89% of those that were required to start within 24 hours doing so.
The figure for those with five and 10-day time frames was 26%.
Response times for individual regions were unavailable.
Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman said the data showed clear improvements on investigation times, despite an increase in the number of cases being investigated.
“We are beginning to turn the corner on these performance measures despite being busier than ever,” Ms Fentiman said.
She said the 129 extra child safety staff being hired this financial year would mean further improvements.
The first 100 of these staff have been hired with the remaining positions to be filled by March.
Shadow Child Safety Minister Ros Bates claimed leaked October data showed the child safety system was getting worse.