MPs fight to stop child abuse

BUNDABERG grandparents have spoken out about their frustration in dealing with the Department of Child Safety.

A grandmother and grandfather, who cannot be named as it will identify the children in their care, spoke at a launch of a discussion paper into early intervention to protect children, which was initiated by Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey.

The grandparents were kinship carers of four of their grandchildren for seven years until October last year when Child Safety removed the children from their home after allegations were made.

The allegations included making one of the female children wear “granny panties” and unorthodox disciplinary action by sending two of the children to their rooms after they were found fighting.

“The biggest frustration is the inconsistencies in the department,” the grandmother said.

“We’ve worked with the Bundaberg, Caboolture and Chermside offices and each time they change they say something different.”

Mr Dempsey, who is also the opposition spokesperson for child safety, said one of the main aims was to find how parents and carers dealt with child safety and how that could be improved.

The discussion paper will also look into how to address the underlying causes of child abuse and stop it before it happens.

“I would be better for the long-term benefit if they would be able to get the resources they need and it’s about getting the best needs of the child met,” he said.

“The average child in foster care will go through at least four foster care homes. They are taking kids from disfunctionality and putting them in a different type of disfunctionality.”

In the Central Queensland region, 1180 children were living away from home.

Mr Dempsey said he had seen a number of cases where communication between Child Safety and different departments such as housing and the Queensland Police Service had broken down.

“The departments need to work with each other because the system is just not working,” he said.

“We really need to enhance a proper inter-departmental approach.”

Mr Dempsey said he welcomed input into the discussion paper from carers and people involved in child protection services.

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