QLD to drug test parents
The Queensland Government says it will start drug testing parents whose children come into state care.
The Government will conduct mandatory drug testing of parents after new government statistics revealed about a third of children in protection have at least one parent who has used or is using ice.
Queensland's Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman says families thought to have ice problems but who want to keep their kids at home would undergo the mandatory drug testing.
“Our officers need that information to be able to make better decisions about the potential risk of harm to kids,” she said.
“We have also announced for the first time we will have drug and alcohol nurses embedded in our family support services.
“We know that there needs to be better coordination and collaboration on the ground between family safety and our family support team, and health practitioners.
“And that's why I think that model will really help families earlier on, before the family reaches crisis.”
Some child protection advocates say it might be seen as a heavy-handed response, and encouraged the government to make sure that adequate support is offered beyond the tests to help parents kick the habit.
The Opposition said the Government was hiding behind the stats.
“Certainly Shannon Fentiman has been cooking up this excuse for her own incompetence in child safety,” opposition child safety spokesperson Ros Bates said.
“So I'm not surprised this is an excuse that has been given for the latest child safety data — the crisis still persists in child safety.
“We have seen no change in the times for children to be investigated, we are still seeing 66 per cent of all at risk kids not even having their investigations started.
“And we know there are 10 per cent of critical cases still requiring 24 hour response times that are being missed.”