Child and family services continue to be boosted across the South West Queensland region, with 33 new child safety staff already on the ground and around 38 more on their way over the next two years to help keep vulnerable children as safe as possible.
On Thursday the State Government released a comprehensive review on the operation of the state’s Child Safety system.
Minister for Child Safety Shannon Fentiman says these are life-saving jobs.
“Already around 16 new staff are working here in the two Toowoomba child safety service centres.”
“We have increased the Toowoomba South Child Safety Service Centre operating budget by 44 per cent from 2016-17 to 2017-18, while the Toowoomba North Child Safety Service Centre’s operating budget has increased by almost 21 per cent over the same period.”
“With our new investment this year we will see even more improvements, and we already know that 10 new regional positions are expected to be created in the Toowoomba Child Safety Services Centres within the next 12 months.”
A further three positions are also expected to be created in the Western Downs Investigation and Assessment area within the next year.
Ms Fentiman said the review was commissioned by the Queensland Family and Child Commission, and it has not only helped identify pressure points but also made sure the $200 million investment in additional staff had the right mix of staff required to respond.
“This includes employing extra staff to form state-wide relief pools to backfill officers on leave and creating new senior positions to provide career pathways to keep experienced staff at the frontline,” Ms Fentiman said.
Ms Fentiman said the reports also reinforce what is already known about the complexity of families child safety staff are working with, including the devastating effects of the insidious drug Ice.
“Our child safety staff are dedicated and hard-working people and the work they are doing is increasingly complex. Staff are working more intensively with families to overcome issues such as Ice abuse and that work is taking longer.”