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Children ‘waiting to be saved’ abandoned as government takes axe to home visits

Article image for Children ‘waiting to be saved’ abandoned as government takes axe to home visits

A home visitation program protecting Gold Coast children from domestic abuse and violence has been cut by the Palaszczuk government. 

Ray Hadley was clued in on the cut by a listener, who told him his daughter was a nurse who conducted such visits.

“As you can imagine, she is sometimes the first alert to [doctors] when at-risk babies and kids need intervention,” Peter wrote. (Read the full email below)

“Well, as at the 1st of July, Palaszczuk has given the whole system the sack!”

Ray contacted the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs over the matter, and was informed the service was indeed cut, “with funds to be redirected to the expansion of foster and kinship care services for children in care”. (Read the full statement below)

“Well that foster service worked really well with Tiahleigh Palmer, didn’t it?” Ray said. “I’m glad they’re going to spend more money on that…”

Queensland’s shadow health minister Ros Bates slammed the cuts, telling Ray “all of the staff working there have been directed to stop taking referrals from mothers in need”.

“They’re not numbers on a spreadsheet – these are little kids waiting for Child Safety to come knocking on the door to save them.”

Press PLAY below to hear Ros’ scathing comments in full

Read listener Peter’s full email below:

“My daughter is a child community health nurse with Queensland Health and conducts home visits to vulnerable families in mainly lower socioeconomic areas. 

“As you can imagine, she is sometimes the first to alert [doctors] when at-risk babies and kids need intervention. 

“Well, as at the 1st of July, Palaszczuk has given the whole system the sack!

“Not really a deal-breaker for my daughter given her youth and qualifications, however, there is a long-term dedicated team [that has] been given their marching orders and many families left at risk that relied on home visits for infant and child health! 

“I know child protection has been high on your agenda for many years and I wonder if there’s more to this than meets the eye?” 

Read the statement from a Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs spokesperson below: 

“The department currently has a contract with Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service to deliver the Health Home Visiting program on the Gold Coast with annual funding of approximately $2.5 million.  

“Funding for health home visiting program commenced in 2010 and various iterations of the program have been delivered since that time. The contract for the current service model commenced in 2018.

“This contract finishes on 30 June 2021 and we advised Queensland Health in December 2020 that we will not be renewing the contract, with funds to be redirected to the expansion of foster and kinship care services for children in care.

“Queensland Health funds the health home visiting program in Moreton and Caboolture and residents of the Gold Coast will continue to have access to the full range of child and maternal health services delivered by Queensland Health available to families across the state.” 

Read the statement from Children and Youth Justice Minister Leanne Linard: 

“The Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs will be redirecting the funding to other priority areas.

“More specifically, this will include the expansion of foster and kinship care services for children in care.

“These supports and services are a vital part of keeping children and young people safe when they can no longer live safely at home.”

Ray Hadley
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