QLD to see 20 new child protection centres opened
THE establishment of two new child protection agencies will see 20 community-based referral centres established in regional centres across the state.
The referral centres will be up-and-running before January, 2015.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said on Tuesday the establishment of the Office of the Public Guardian along with the Queensland Family and Child Commission was in direct response to the Child Protection Commission of Inquiry.
The inquiry, which was handed down last year, made 121 recommendations to the government to improve the state's child protection system.
Of these, the government adopted 115 recommendations and accepted the remaining six in principle.
Mr Bleijie said, at the launch of the Public Guardian's Brisbane headquarters, it was one of three advocacy hubs planned for across the state.
"These advocacy hubs provide an environment where children and adolescents can raise concerns about their care, obtain legal advice and ultimately put them on a path to a bright future as adults," he said.
"Support will not be limited to those in Queensland's capital, with physical hubs also launching in Ipswich and Townsville over the coming days to ensure vulnerable people in other regions have easy access to face-to-face support services.
"In addition to these regional hubs, a state-wide virtual hub will also be available, using technology and social media to make it as easy as possible for children and young people to seek assistance at the click of a button.
"As well as phone, emailing and messaging, the virtual hub can also be accessed on smartphones and tablets to ensure Queensland families get help and support wherever they may be."
Child Safety Minister Tracy Davis, who launched the Family and Child Commission, said the government had committed $406 million to implement the landmark reforms.
The 20 mooted community-based referral centres will fall under the commission's care.
"Our reforms are aimed at strengthening families and keeping them together through early intervention, but parents and community also need play their part to support at-risk families," she said.
Locations for the community-based referral centres will be released in the coming months.