Kids risk num­bers con­firm prob­lems

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - BET­TINA WAR­BUR­TON

NEARLY 1400 chil­dren in the Townsville re­gion are sub­ject to on­go­ing child pro­tec­tion in­ter­ven­tion, new data shows.

The Child Pro­tec­tion fig­ures also re­veal 991 chil­dren in the Townsville re­gion liv­ing away from home, an in­crease from the pre­vi­ous year’s of 961.

The num­ber sub­ject to on­go­ing in­ter­ven­tion was 1358, com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year fig­ure of 1324.

The data was re­vealed ahead of the first North Queens­land Child Pro­tec­tion Sym­po­sium on Septem­ber 1 and comes as the State Gov­ern­ment an­nounces an ad­di­tional 33 child safety staff for the re­gion by 2019.

Event or­gan­iser Caro­line Whit­worth said child safety was “ev­ery­body’s busi­ness”.

“Ev­ery­one in the com­mu­nity has a re­spon­si­bil­ity to re­port,” she said. “It’s never OK to turn a blind eye to child safety and child pro­tec­tion.”

Ms Whit­worth, a Townsville Hospi­tal Child Pro­tec­tion Unit team leader, said her job was to help staff with manda­tory re­port­ing of child safety and child pro­tec­tion is­sues.

“If hospi­tal staff iden­tify is­sues, there are re­port­ing path­ways they follow,” she said. “There are re­fer­ral path­ways and re­port­ing path­ways. There are al­ter­na­tive ways of try­ing to sup­port fam­i­lies with­out them hav­ing to be in the statu­tory sys­tem as well.”

The sym­po­sium aims to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on ser­vice de­liv­ery to the com­mu­nity with a fo­cus on the Car­mody In­quiry into child pro­tec­tion.

Child Safety Min­is­ter Shan­non Fen­ti­man said the state was united on child safety.

“More neigh­bours, friends and fam­ily mem­bers are mak­ing re­ports to Child Safety when they are wor­ried about a child, and that is a good thing,” she said. “I urge any­one who is con­cerned about the safety of a child to con­tact Child Safety.”

Townsville MP Scott Stew­art said new Child Safety staff were “al­ready mak­ing a dif­fer­ence to vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren”.

“Now they will have the ex­tra sup­port and back- up they need to ease caseloads and fo­cus their at­ten­tion on some of the most at- risk chil­dren and fam­i­lies,” he said. Editorial, page 16

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