Changes to Queensland's child protection laws

In May 2022, the Queensland Parliament passed the Child Protection Reform and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2022 (the Act). This Act amends Queensland's child protection laws so that they:

  • reinforce children's rights
  • strengthen children's voices in decisions that affect them
  • enhance how the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle is applied when making significant decisions about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
  • streamline, clarify and improve the regulation of care.

These amendments will come into effect in 2 tranches:

  • Tranche 1 will commence 31 October 2022.
  • Tranche 2 is anticipated to commence in the first half of 2023.

For foster and kinship carers, the Tranche 1 amendments include:

Extending renewal of carer certificates to 3 years

In the past, carers were required to renew their certificate of approval every 2 years. This has been extended to every 3 years.

A carer's initial approval period continues to be 12 months.

A foster or kinship carer's certificate of approval will need to be renewed 12 months from the date of their initial approval, and every 3 years after that.

Extending the renewal term to 3 years will:

  • reduce the administrative burden on carers
  • reduce the time carers spend being reassessed
  • enable foster and kinship care service providers and Child Safety to provide additional support to carers.

Although the renewal term is now 3 years, the Child Protection Act 1999 will continue to enable an earlier review of a carer's suitability if there is a change in circumstances.

Streamlining assessments for existing kinship carers

The amendments streamline the assessment process where an additional child is placed with an existing kinship carer.

This means that the assessment will no longer need to reconsider factors that were necessary for a person's initial approval to become a kinship carer. This includes suitability to be a kinship carer, blue card status, and whether the person can meet the standards of care required.

The assessment will still need to establish whether there is a kinship relationship between the additional child and the carer, and the carer's ability (which includes support that may be required) to keep the child safe.

Mandatory reporting requirements

The amendments make it mandatory under the Child Protection Act 1999 for foster and kinship carers to report to Child Safety if they reasonably suspect a child in care has suffered, is suffering, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm caused by physical or sexual abuse.

This means that carers now have the same legal obligation as employees of family-based care services, employees of non-family-based care services (including staff who directly care for children), and Child Safety staff to report a reasonable suspicion about a child in care.

The new mandatory reporting requirement does not duplicate the requirement under the Criminal Code Act 1899 for all adults in Queensland to report sexual offending against a child by another adult to the police. Carers with a reasonable suspicion about a sexual offence involving a child in care can make a report to Child Safety.

To make a report, contact: