Queensland is less than half way through the ten year road map recommended by the Carmody Child Protection Commission of Inquiry for reforming the child protection system. With the Inquiry having been commissioned by the former LNP Government led by Campbell Newman and the roadmap to reform having been initiated by that government and then continued and built upon by the ALP Palaszczuk Government, much has been achieved but there is more to be completed.
The Carmody Inquiry identified the major causes of systemic failures in child protection as too little money spent on early intervention, a risk-averse culture that focuses too heavily on coercive rather than supportive strategies and overreacts to hostile media and community scrutiny, and a tendency for all parts of society to shift responsibility onto the child safety department.
The child protection system is one where the stakes are high and children’s lives are often dependent on no mistakes being made. Understandably, there is little tolerance or forgiveness shown by the media or general public if and when a mistake occurs and any mistake almost inevitably becomes potential fodder for political mudslinging. There is a challenge to be faced by either a returned ALP government or an incoming LNP government in maintaining a reform agenda that emphasises the importance of prevention and early intervention when the price of even a single error or lapse in judgement can lead to not only a tragic outcome for a child and family, but also the de-railing of a whole program of reforms when the system reverts back to its risk-averse state. How can a newly formed State Government – of any political persuasion – deal with this challenge?
Read more about PeakCare’s ‘election wishes’.