GRAVE CONCERNS OVER PASSAGE OF CHILD PROTECTION AND OTHER LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2020 (QLD)
Published: 24 March 2021
Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) Chief Executive Officer Cindy Smith and Queensland Branch President Yasmin Dunn have described the passage of the Child Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 (QLD) as a missed opportunity to protect the best interest of vulnerable children and their families.
The AASW made two submissions to the Inquiry of this Bill and is afraid that its concerns and those of other community organisations have been ignored and the legislation that passed the Queensland Parliament yesterday (23 March) may have an unintended consequence of expediting adoptions, instead of prioritising the best interest of children.
CEO Cindy Smith said the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child, makes it very clear that ‘the child for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding’.
“Governments have a responsibility in the first instance to concentrate efforts on creating such environments in which children and families are supported and assisted, so that the various factors that contribute to the need for child protection intervention by the state is substantially reduced.”
“Adoption does not address the underlying cause of child protection intervention and what is needed is more resources for frontline support for vulnerable families, to prevent child protection issues arising at all.”
Queensland Branch President Yasmin Dunn said access to appropriate supports, case planning and casework is the priority and what is needed, and adoption should only be considered as one of the possible responses after all other options for achieving the child’s safety are thoroughly explored.
“By enshrining adoption as an option for vulnerable children in the Child Protection Act 1999 (QLD), the bill runs a high risk of streamlining and fast-tracking adoption. This will disproportionately impact Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children who are already over represented in the out of home care system.”
“Before making further amendments to the Child Protection Act 1999 (QLD), we recommend the Queensland Government to undertake further consultation with Aboriginal community controlled organisations and experts and invest in early intervention programs, family support services and the child protection workforce,” she said.