Child protection legislation reform

Changing our laws to keep Queensland children safe

Child Protection Reform and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2022

The Child Protection Reform and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 (Bill) was introduced into the Queensland Parliament on 15 September 2021.

The Bill received assent and became an Act on Friday 20 May 2022 (Child Protection Reform and other Legislation Amendment Act 2022 (the Act)).

The Act makes amendments to the Child Protection Act 1999 (CP Act) and the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000 (WWC Act). It also makes minor consequential amendments to the Disability Services Act 2006 and technical amendments to the Adoption Act 2009.

The amendments address recommendations from the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Queensland Family and Child Commission’s Keeping Queensland’s children more than safe: Review of the foster care system (PDF) report and previous consultation conducted by the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs.

The Act aims to:

  • reinforce children’s rights in the legislative framework;
  • strengthen children’s voices in decisions that affect them; and
  • streamline, clarify and improve the regulation of care.

Some amendments in the Act commenced on assent, including those made to the Disability Services Act 2006, the Adoption Act 2009 and some of the amendments being made to the WWC Act. Other amendments in the Act will commence on a date to be fixed by proclamation.

We are currently working to ensure the amendments to the CP Act are implemented ahead of it taking effect. The Department of Justice and Attorney-General is responsible for implementing the blue card related amendments.

Consultation report — Rethinking rights and regulation: towards a stronger framework for protecting children and supporting families

Contemporary child protection laws are an important part of the Supporting Families Changing Futures reform program to ensure children and young people are safe, protected and supported to reach their full potential.

The Queensland Government prepared further changes to the child protection legislation to build a stronger framework for protecting children and supporting families.

Between July and September 2019, public consultation was held through targeted workshops, written submissions and surveys received through the Youth eHub for people under 25 and Get Involved.

A discussion paper, Rethinking rights and regulation: towards a stronger framework for protecting children and supporting families (PDF, 1.5 MB) Rethinking rights and regulation: towards a stronger framework for protecting children and supporting families (DOCX, 2.5 MB) proposed options for changes to the legislation in three focus areas:

  • Reinforcing children’s rights in the legislative framework;
  • Strengthening children’s voices in decisions that affect them; and
  • Reshaping the regulation of care.

Through consultation, we heard about the importance of ensuring children are aware of their rights and how to exercise them, the need to actively listen to children and facilitate participation in a way that is appropriate to their needs, and the importance of ensuring carers and care services are supported to deliver the highest standard of care possible.

The final consultation report (PDF, 524 KB) final consultation report (DOCX, 1.5 MB) provides more information about the outcomes of consultation.

We considered the results of consultation and how we could incorporate this feedback to support a stronger legislative, policy and practice framework for the child protection and family support system.

Child Protection Reform Amendment Act 2017 changes

The final stage of amendments commenced on 29 October 2018.

A comprehensive review of the Child Protection Act 1999 (the Act), as recommended by the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry was undertaken between 2015 and 2017.

The Queensland Parliament passed the Child Protection Reform Amendment Act 2017, to progress priority changes to the Act.

Stage 1 Amendments - January 2018

On 29 January 2018, some of the changes commenced to allow us to provide more information to:

  • people who are, or have been, living in care
  • a parent or guardian, if a deceased child was subject to a child protection order
  • the police, if an investigation is being conducted following a child’s death
  • child welfare authorities in other jurisdictions to respond to child protection concerns.

These changes included the establishment of the Time in Care Information Access Service.

Stage 2 Amendments - July 2018

The second stage of amendments commenced on 23 July 2018, with changes made to:

For more information on these changes, please see the July amendments fact sheet (PDF, 270 KB) July amendments fact sheet (DOCX, 120 KB).

Stage 3 Amendments - October 2018

The third and final stage of amendments commenced on 29 October 2018. Changes that commenced at that time related to:

  • The safe care and connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with family, community and culture including the right to self-determination and embedding of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle in legislation, removal of reference to the Recognised Entity, introduction of the new concept of an independent person for a child or young person, and the ability to delegate functions and powers to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation.
  • Supporting Permanency and Stability for children, now and throughout their lives including introduction of a new permanency framework to promote timely decision-making, greater emphasis on all dimensions of permanency — relational, physical and legal aspects, stronger focus on achieving permanency goals and concurrent case planning, limitations on the use of consecutive short-term orders and the introduction of the permanent care order.
  • A contemporary information sharing framework including a greater ability for the family support system to share information and the publication of an Information Sharing Guideline by the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women.
  • Transition to Adulthood including a legal requirement for transition planning to commence from 15 years of age and the extension of support eligibility up to the age of 25 for young people who have been in care.

Child Protection Act 1999 consultation report (May 2017)

The review of the Child Protection Act 1999 commenced in September 2015 to identify the role and purpose of the legislation in improving opportunities and life outcomes for children, young people and families in contact with the child protection system.

Between September 2015 and December 2016, public consultation was held across Queensland through community forums, written submissions, meetings, focus groups and small group sessions to identify the priority changes needed to keep children and young people safe and able to reach their full potential, and to support families and communities to safely care for their children.

Through this consultation, we found that Queensland’s child protection legislation was generally operating well, however priority amendments and opportunities for broad legislative reform were identified.

The final consultation report (PDF, 392 KB) consultation report (DOCX, 299 KB) provided more information about the findings from the public consultation.

Resources