The blue card system was introduced in 2001 to address widespread community concerns about the number of children who had been exposed to significant levels of abuse in service environments intended to promote their safety and wellbeing. The system was further strengthened on 31 May 2006 to include screening requirements for foster and kinship carers and adult household members following the findings of a number of independent inquiries into the abuse of children and young people in the child protection system.

All of the independent inquiries and reviews described a child protection and foster care system marked by serious systemic, organisational and practice failings which often did not focus on the best interests of the child; a system where some children had been sexually abused by carers for many years and new children were still being placed with these carers; a system with no-one listening to what the children were reporting.

In essence, these inquiries quite rightly recognised that the State has a heightened responsibility for children in the child protection system. Accordingly, this provided the impetus for legislative reform to screen foster and kinship carers and adult household members as the blue card system was recognised as the “benchmark for determining the appropriateness of individuals to engage in child-related employment”.

This is the second in a series of papers about the blue card system in Queensland. The first paper is  ‘Measuring the value and contribution of the blue card system in Queensland’ and the third is ‘Increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in the blue card system’.

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