Child Safety Minister Di Farmer
Child Safety Minister Di Farmer

Shameful stat lays bare child safety crisis

THE State Government is under renewed pressure to prioritise both adoption and permanency orders so vulnerable kids can experience a normal childhood and "know where they're going to sleep".

It comes as statistics reveal just 29 children were adopted in Queensland during 2018-19, compared to almost 10,000 kids who couldn't be looked after at home.

Between 2016-17 and 2018-19, just 89 children were adopted across the state, compared to the 9850 kids in out-of-home care in September last year.

The revelation has prompted renewed calls for a stronger emphasis to be placed on adoption and follows scathing coronial findings into the death of Caboolture toddler Mason Jet Lee which found Child Safety officers failed in "nearly every way possible".

LNP leader Deb Frecklington
LNP leader Deb Frecklington

Adopt Change's CEO Renee Carter said the long term care of a child under the government should be the last priority, while stating Australia's "terrible history" with adoption may be impacting the low figures.

"I think when people look at the trauma that those adoptions caused they don't want to have adoption on the table," she said.

In Queensland, long-term guardianship orders (LTGO) can be issued either to child safety or to a suitable family member or person, while a permanent care order (PCO) can grant someone custody of a child until they turn 18.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said leaving vulnerable children in homes of abuse could be a death sentence.

Child Safety Minister Di Farmer
Child Safety Minister Di Farmer

"Under the LNP's child safety overhaul which includes the introduction of a Child Protection Force, adoption numbers will increase with new targets and KPIs," she said.

Child Safety Minister Di Farmer said 75.6 per cent of children had long-term guardianships to the CEO and 24.4 per cent had court-ordered LTGO or PCO.

"The Government recognises adoption is a complex and sensitive matter and rarely a one-size-fits-all solution for every vulnerable child in need of protection and care outside of the home," she said.

The Minister said the Government was looking at strengthening legislation around permanency and adoption.

Labor recently promised to work with the LNP on child safety, with Ms Farmer stating she'd met with the Opposition in recent weeks.

Ms Carter said the best interests of kids had to be prioritised.

"You have to make a call for the child for them to have an opportunity to just be a child, they need that opportunity to just play, to know where they're going to sleep, to know who their person is who's going to sign their notes and to know they're not going to be moved again," she said.

Foster Care Queensland executive director Bryan Smith said LTGO and PCO could offer a safety net for parents that's not necessarily there for adoptive parents.

"There are circumstances where adoption can be considered," he said.

Act for Kids executive director of services Katrina Lines said seeing the numbers of children in out-of-home care increase to almost 10,000 was heartbreaking.

"Where there are no parents or family members willing or able to care for a child, then permanency options such as adoption should be seriously considered, especially for very young children," she said.


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