New child safety data from the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs have revealed that demands for family support and child protection services have slowed down since the initial onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister for Children, Leanne Linard said Queensland’s family and child safety support services continued to prioritise the most urgent cases, while dealing with increasingly complex family support needs.
Ms Linard said foster and kinship carers continued to support children and young people in need of care.
“Last year we welcomed 1,580 new families which is wonderful,” Ms Linard said.
“The total number of carer families is now 5,927 compared to 5,680 the year before.
“This includes an increase of almost 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carer families compared to the previous year.
“It means more First Nations children are being cared for in their communities and culture.”
Ms Linard said the number of child safety notifications increased by nearly five per cent in the year to September 2021.
“There were more than 26,100 investigations commenced by dedicated child safety staff throughout the State,” she said.
“Of investigations with a 24-hour priority, 94 per cent commenced on time — a similar result to the same time in the previous year.”
The Minister said the number of children in care increased to 11,169 as of 30 September 2021, which was 471 more children in care or 4.4 per cent more than the same time last year.
“The rate of growth is trending downwards when compared with the yearly increases in March and June quarters,” Ms Linard said.