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On 22 April 1996, as a result of revelations concerning paedophilia arising from the Woods Royal Commission in New South Wales, a Community Services Ministers Ministerial Council meeting decided to develop nationally coordinated strategies to prevent organised paedophilia activities and other forms of child abuse.
On 1 May 1996, the Queensland Parliament endorsed the national action and passed the Children's Commissioner and Children’s Services Appeals Tribunal Act 1996 (Qld) on 13 November 1996 which established Queensland's Children's Commission, with the Commissioner reporting to the Minister for Families, Youth and Community Care. The initial work of the Children's Commission focused on researching organised paedophilia as well as providing advocacy and complaints resolution services.
In August 1998 (i.e. at the same time as the Briton review) the Commission of Inquiry into the Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions (the "Forde Inquiry") was established to report on the care and treatment of children in out-of-home residential facilities and juvenile detention centres. The Inquiry also reported on the general deficiencies it perceived in the legislative framework for children in institutions and made a number of recommendations designed to strengthen the Children’s Commission.
In September 1998, the Government commissioned John Briton to conduct an independent review of the Children’s Commissioner and Children’s Services Appeals Tribunals Act 1996 (Qld). The review was completed and a report and recommendations (The "Briton Report") were submitted to Government in April 1999.
The recommendations of Forde Inquiry and Briton Report were largely taken up by the Government and reflected in the introduction of the Commission for Children and Young People Act 2000.
The Act extended the Commission’s mandate as an advocate for all children and young people in Queensland, established the Commission as an independent statutory body, expanded the community visitor program and increased the Commission’s powers and functions in relation to complaint handling. An employment screening program (later to be called the blue card system) for child-related employment was also introduced as a key prevention and early intervention mechanism to mitigate risks to children in certain service environments. Since its inception in 2001, this system has been regularly reviewed, expanded and strengthened by Parliament and is recognised as the most comprehensive and rigorous child focused employment screening and monitoring function of its type in Australia.
In August 2003 the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) initiated a public inquiry into abuse of children in foster care. The inquiry was run in parallel to two separate investigations initiated by the CMC on the same subject and drew from a separate audit of notifications of children in foster care conducted for the Government by Ms Gwenn Murray.
The CMC’s subsequent report Protecting children: an inquiry into abuse of children in foster care was submitted to the Government in January 2004. The report identified significant failings in the child protection system and called for comprehensive reforms to the system.
The Government’s subsequent 2004 "blue print" in response to the CMC report and Murray audit recommendations further expanded the Commission’s functions and powers, including the assignment of the role of "Child Guardian" to the Commissioner.
The Commission’s increased oversight function (which remains today) was reflected in the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian Act 2000 of August 2004.
In June 2007, the CMC issued a review of the implementation of recommendations in their report 'Protecting children: an inquiry into abuse of children in foster care' and affirmed the Commission's oversight activities and the way in which they have been implemented.
The documents below provide the historical context for the Commission’s current powers and scope of operation.
Last Updated: September 25, 2012