On 21 September 2016, the Director-General of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, on behalf of the Premier, asked the Principal Commissioner, Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC) to ‘undertake a whole of system review of the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 and its operation’.
The Director-General also asked the Principal Commissioner to review the assessment and approval processes for foster and kinship carers in Queensland. The request for these reviews arose from the arrest of Tiahleigh Palmer’s foster carers after her tragic death.
The Premier asked the QFCC to appoint an expert panel to provide advice at all stages of the review.
The review provided an opportunity to challenge the current system and consider the value it adds to keeping children safe and if there are better ways to achieve this goal.
The findings of the 2013 Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry informed the review. That inquiry found that the system needs streamlining ‘based on a balanced view of risk and downstream effects on community participation’.
More recently, the Commonwealth Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (the Royal Commission) released its recommendations for working with children checks (WWCCs). The Royal Commission has also worked to identify the specific standards that institutions should adopt in order to be child safe. This review considered the work and recommendations of the Royal Commission and the extent to which Queensland should implement them.
This report focuses on recommendations to improve the blue card system. A separate report focuses on the results of the review of the foster care system.