One in three kids taken into  care have meth-user parents

File photo: iStockAlmost one in three children taken into the care of Queensland Child Safety last year had a parent who currently or previously used methamphetamine.

The figure is in the latest Child and Family Performance Statistics, covering the 12 months to December 31, 2016.

Of the 749 children taken into state care for whom parental methamphetamine use was recorded, in most cases – 75 per cent – the type of methamphetamine used was ice.

The most serious harm assessed among those children was neglect (59 per cent), followed by emotional harm (29 per cent), physical harm (11 per cent) and sexual abuse (1 per cent).

The figures come as the Palaszczuk government held its inaugural ice summit in Rockhampton on Thursday.

Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman said 60 per cent of children who had a parent using ice were aged under five.

“The new child safety figures are deeply disturbing and demonstrate the damaging impact of ice on communities right across the state,” Ms Fentiman said.

“It’s especially concerning to me that so many children whose parents were using ice were so young.”

Almost 40 per cent of parental ice use was in homes within two “corridors”: Ipswich north and Brisbane north to Caloundra; and the Gold Coast, including Beenleigh.

Another 34 per cent was in three regions: Rockhampton to Aitkenvale, including Townsville and Emerald; Gympie, Maryborough and Bundaberg; and Springfield to Mount Gravatt, including Browns Plains.

The data also shows the the number of Child Safety investigations is up compared with the September quarter – 227 more, 21,124 in total – with 92 per cent of all notifications having an investigation commenced.

This was the highest proportion of notifications with an investigation begun since reporting on the measure began in 2009-10.

The number of investigations that commenced on time is up – 149 more in the 12 months to December compared with the 12 months to September.

Frontline staff achieved the results with even more investigations to undertake – 189 more.

But child safety officer caseloads were down – from 19.4 to 18.5. This is the first time caseloads have been under 19 since June 30, 2015.

Of the investigations requiring a response within 24 hours, 90 per cent started within the time frame.

But across the cases with a 24-hour, five-day or 10-day time frame, only 38 per cent of investigations began within the deadline.

“There is still room for improvement… with the number of investigations commencing on time requiring a five-day or 10-day response, remaining stable with previous quarters,” Ms Fentiman said.

“We expect this to improve by the next reporting period, which will reflect the impact of 129 new child safety workers who are now on the ground across Queensland.”

Queensland authorities must sight a child before any investigation can be recorded as being commenced.

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