The Queensland Government introduced the Child Protection Reform Amendment Bill 2014 into the Queensland Legislative Assembly on the 20 March. This bill, in conjunction with others, will be an important step forward to realising the Newman Government’s commitment to making Queensland a safer place to raise a child.
Queensland Attorney General, Jarrod Bleijie, said that the State Government is following the recommendations made by the Child Protection Commission of Inquiry to develop a sustainable and effective child protection system over the next decade. Mr Bleijie explains that under the current reforms, the Queensland Family and Child Commission would be established to oversee the child protection system and to prevent children from entering such systems.
Along with the Family and Child Commission Bill and the Public Guardian Bill, the current bill will amend the Child Protection Act 1999 to clarify when a report about a child may be made to Child Safety and consolidate current mandatory reporting requirements. The bills will also clarify the definition of a ‘child in need of protection’ as a ‘child who suffered, or is at risk of significant harm and has no parent willing and able to protect them.’
The bill will also provide for a new child death case review process by a independent and multidisciplinary panel. The proposed changes would also give Chief Magistrate powers, functions and associated responsibility to ensure that Children's Court matters, including child protection, youth justice and adoption matters are dealt with by magistrates and justices of the peace in an efficient and orderly manner. The proposed changes will also facilitate the development and implementation of a judicially-led case management system.
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