Amendments introduced to strengthen operation of blue card laws

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence The Honourable Yvette D'Ath
  • Reforms have been introduced to Parliament to update working with children laws and support the operation of the blue card system
  • Legislation will simplify and improve blue card requirements, and strengthen eligibility assessments to work with children
  • Kinship carers will no longer be required to hold a blue card when caring for kin

The Miles Government has introduced new legislation into Parliament to improve the operation of the blue card system and strengthen safeguards in the State’s working with children laws.

The reforms in the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2024, reflect the Miles Government’s ongoing commitment to keeping children and young people safe.

The blue card system regulates activities which are essential to children’s lives. These include childcare, education, sport and recreation, cultural activities, disability and health services, and foster care.

The system checks and monitors people who work and volunteer in these activities and helps organisations to create safe environments for children.

The Bill expands who is required to hold a blue card, including people who deliver party, entertainment, beauty and photography services directed at children.

The proposed legislative amendments would implement a new fit-for-purpose decision-making framework that is more consistent with other jurisdictions. The new framework adopts nationally agreed criteria, which must be considered when a person returns information of concern.

As part of its decision making, Blue Card Services, within the Department of Justice and Attorney-General, will be able to seek specialist knowledge and advice to assist in deciding a blue card application.

New powers have also been included to enable the suspension of a person’s card where there would be a risk to the safety of children if the person was allowed to continue to work during reassessment.

The proposed amendments are in response to recommendations from the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC), the former Legal Affairs and Safety Committee, and the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The Bill will also implement the first stage of the Government’s response to the QFCC report, A thematic analysis of provisionally approved kinship carers who receive a subsequent blue card negative notice by removing the blue card requirement for kinship carers.

This will mean more children are able to be cared for by their families, supporting their connection to family, kin, community and culture.

The changed approach is particularly important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families, who continue to be disproportionately represented in the child protection system.

A new fit-for-purpose screening framework will be developed to screen kinship carers to care for kin.

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