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Child Safety data shows ice an ongoing problem for QLD families

New Child Safety data released by the QLD State Government shows the number of children in need of protection because of ice use by parents has risen.

Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman revealed the new figures as part of the new March 2017 quarterly data report.

In the year to March 782 children needed protection as a result of one or both of their parents using methamphetamine, up from 749 children in the year to December.

A specialist ice advisor is being recruited to provide specific expert support and advice for Child Safety workers.

The new data also shows that in the 12 months to March 2017:

  • For 33 per cent of children admitted to ongoing intervention the Department identified methamphetamine use by one or both parents in the household. That is a total of 782 children.
  • Among these families, methamphetamine use was more common than abuse of any other drug, including alcohol. Ten years ago alcohol was the most abused substance, followed by marijuana and heroin.
  • In homes where methamphetamine use was identified, more than half of the children (55 per cent) were subjected to neglect. Almost a third (31 per cent) had suffered emotional harm and 13 per cent had suffered physical harm.
  • For 60 percent of children where parental Ice use was recorded, the families had recently begun using the illicit drug.

Fentiman said the introduction of mandatory drug testing for parents suspected of drug use and entering parenting agreements had given Child Safety officers another tool to keep children in these households safe.

“We make no apology for being tough on parents who do the wrong thing, and the latest data shows just how quickly ice use can cause terrible damage to children and families,” Fentiman said.

Since introduction of testing in November, more than 1000 tests were completed by parents. In June there were a record 214 tests carried out.

The new data underlined the importance of a broad community effort to Child Safety, with referrals coming from a range of sources.

Where parental Ice use was recorded, one in five referrals came from concerned family members, friends or neighbours, and similar proportions from Police or from Health providers. A smaller number of referrals came from schools.

Referrals can be made through Family and Child Connect on 13 Family or 13 32 64.

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