Qld govt to outsource child safety support

By Jamie McKinnell

Queensland will pay fostercare agencies to take pressure off the state's child safety system after it was revealed officers are taking too long to respond to reports of children in need.

Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman has announced the state will spend $4.25 million to transfer the job of recruiting, training and supporting carers to non-government agencies.

The move comes after the government revealed only 37 per cent of child safety investigations start within the recommended time frame.

It also follows the case of 21-month-old Mason Lee, who died in June with injuries from head to toe after having been released from hospital just three months earlier.

Three people, including his mother and stepfather, have been charged with manslaughter over the boy's death and the case has shone the spotlight on the state's child safety department.

One of the accused, 17-year-old Ryan Hodgson was to apply for bail on Friday, saying he is afraid of being attacked in jail due to publicity around the case.

An independent panel is investigating the case and Ms Fentimen said the government would follow its recommendations.

"They will make findings and recommendations back to government. I'm committed to implementing each of those recommendations to make sure we don't see this happen again."

About two thirds of carers are already supported through agencies, however the government still provides direct support to about 800 people.

Ms Fentiman said the decision to transfer support for those carers away from the government was a key recommendation of the Queensland child protection commission of inquiry.

"It also means that we free up our hard-working child safety officers to do the job we need them to do - to investigate incidents of child harm and to continue to provide support for children in out-of-home care," she said on Friday.

The government also boosted Foster Care Queensland's (FCQ) annual budget by $125,000.

Executive Director Bryan Smith said FCQ was always looking for more people willing to provide care and the funding was welcome.

"The best way for our carers to get support, not only for them and their families but for the children and young people they care for, is with the non-government services," he said.

"It's a welcome day for us and one that we've been advocating for such a long time."