Child protection under examination

THERE are children not even born yet who will depend on the outcome of an inquiry into Queensland's child protection system for the next decade.

Those are the words of child advocacy group Bravehearts' founder Hetty Johnson who welcomed the government's Commission of Inquiry to chart a road map to the best outcomes for children and young people.

"Never before has any government I know of have called an inquiry without being pushed into a corner," she said.

"It's usually called because there's some major political disaster on the table.

"The most important thing is that at the end of the day children need to be better off because of government intervention - but that just isn't the case far too often.

"The people that work for the department, the child safety officers at the front end are wonderful people that join the ranks of those teams to help children and they have little chance to do that because of the way the system works.

"I hope the Commission of Inquiry finds ways that allow the right kind of intervention by the right people for the right needs for these kids."

Premier Campbell Newman said developing terms of reference for the inquiry was part of his 100-day action plan.

"The inquiry will examine the current response to children and families in the child protection system, including service standards and court and tribunal processes," he said.

"The commission will conduct a full and careful review in an open and independent manner.

"Improving the safety of Queensland's children is a priority and the government will do whatever it takes to ensure they are safe."

The inquiry will review the progress from recommendations made in the 1999 Commission of Inquiry into abuse of children in Queensland Institutions and the 2004 Crime and Misconduct Commission of Inquiry Protecting our Children: An Inquiry into the Abuse of Children in Foster Care.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie announced the appointment of the Tim Carmody SC - who assisted the Fitzgerald Inquiry and the Criminal Justice Commission Inquiry and was Queensland Crime Commissioner from 1998 to 2002 - as the commissioner.

"Mr Carmody is the right person for this job and the government has every confidence his recommendations will ensure the best protections are in place for our children in the future," he said.

The commissioner must provide a detailed report with his findings and recommendations to the premier by April 30 next year.

The Commission of Inquiry website www.childprotectioninquiry.qld.gov.au will be live from Monday July 2.



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