Shake-up of child protection laws

AN OFFICE of Public Guardian will be established in Queensland to replace existing mechanisms to protect at-risk children.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie announced yesterday the Adult Guardian and Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian would be scrapped.

Reforms recommended by the Child Protection Commission of Inquiry were introduced in Parliament yesterday.

Mr Bleijie (pictured) said the State Government was following the commission's roadmap to developing a sustainable and effective child protection system over the next decade.

"Our children are Queensland's future and these reforms lay the foundation to make this state the safest place to raise a child and to protect our most vulnerable," he said.

"Under the reforms, a new entity, the Queensland Family and Child Commission, will be formed to oversee the child protection system and align Queensland with other jurisdictions."

The Public Guardian would provide individual advocacy for children in the child protection system, administer a child visiting program for the most vulnerable children and have the right to appear in legal proceedings to assist children to ensure they had a voice.

The existing Adult Guardian Kevin Martin will be acting Public Guardian until August 2015, which is the end of his current term.

Other reforms included in the Bills are: transfer the responsibility for administering the Blue Card scheme to the Public Safety Business Agency; a child death review panel process to review the deaths and serious injuries of children known to Child Safety and other cases if required; clarify leadership of the Children's Court and improve court processes; and allow prescribed entities to share information with service providers when children are likely to become in need of protection if support is not provided to their family.

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