Kids risk numbers confirm problems
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