Queensland Government Media Releases

New minimum qualifications to strengthen child protection

June 02, 2017

Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

New minimum qualifications to strengthen child protection

The Palaszczuk Government is committed to strengthening the child protection system, and has this week established new minimum qualification standards for residential care workers.

Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman said the new requirements within the residential care sector would lift the standard of care for some of Queensland’s most vulnerable children. 

“From July next year, all new residential care workers will be required to have or be working towards a minimum Certificate IV in a relevant child welfare or child well-being course,” she said.

“In partnership with the Queensland Family and Child Commission and PeakCare Queensland, we will also start to transition existing staff who don’t have the minimum requirements so they can achieve the qualification they need.

“We will work with providers, particularly in regional and remote areas to support them through this process.

“By the end of 2019, we hope to see the minimum qualification requirement will be implemented with residential workers holding a Certificate IV or higher.”

Ms Fentiman said strengthening the qualification requirements for workers would ensure vulnerable children and young people who find themselves in residential care are cared for by people who have a strong grounding in providing the appropriate care.

“The needs of children in residential care are increasingly complex and that’s why staff need as much specialist child welfare knowledge as possible,” she said.

Executive Director of PeakCare, Lindsay Wegner welcomed the introduction of minimum qualifications for the sector.

“This is a welcome addition to Queensland’s ongoing child protection reform and recognition of the skills and qualifications needed to support young people who have suffered abuse and trauma,” he said.

 “The new minimum qualifications will, in the long run, assist non-government organisations to recruit staff with the prerequisite knowledge and skills needed to implement the recently developed Hope and Healing Framework within all Queensland residential care settings and we look forward to working with the Government on developing a comprehensive plan for its introduction.”

Ms Fentiman said the words Hope and Healing said it all.

“Sadly, all children and young people living in out-of-home care have experienced a level of trauma arising out of child abuse or neglect, separation from their families and other disruptions to their young lives,” she said.

“The Hope and Healing Framework provides the foundation for promoting their healing and recovery from the grief and loss they have experienced and hope for a brighter future.”

The framework and introduction of minimum qualifications delivers on recommendations made by the Queensland Child Protection Commission of Inquiry report to improve outcomes for young people living in residential care facilities.

The Queensland Government has invested $300,000 for PeakCare to develop the training and professional development strategies needed to support implementation of the Hope and Healing framework within all residential care services.