The Child Protection Act 1999 provides the legislative framework for the protection of children in Queensland.

The main principle of the Child Protection Act 1999 is that the safety, wellbeing and best interests of a child are paramount.

This short video uses animation to explain the main goals of the Child Protection Act 1999. This video was produced by the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.

This video was updated in December 2017.

Transcript

Video transcript: Child Protection Act 1999

The Child Protection Act 1999 provides the legislative framework for the protection of children in Queensland.

The main principle of the Child Protection Act 1999 is that the safety, wellbeing and best interests of a child are paramount.

Other general principles include that a child has a right to be protected from harm or risk of harm, and a child’s family has the primary responsibility for the child’s upbringing, protection and development.

The preferred way of ensuring a child’s safety and wellbeing is through supporting the child’s family. If a child does not have a parent who is able and willing to protect the child, the State is responsible for protecting the child. In protecting a child, the State should only take action that is warranted in the circumstances.

These principles and the remaining principles of the Act form the basis for child protection work in Queensland. Within the Act, there are a number of key definitions including who is a child, who is a parent, what is harm, who is a child in need of protection, and who is a mandatory reporter.

A child is an individual under 18 years. Once a person turns 18 years they are regarded as an adult.

A parent of a child is the child’s mother, father or someone else having or exercising parental responsibility for the child. A parent of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child may also be a person, who, under Aboriginal tradition or Island custom, is regarded as a parent of the child. The definition of a parent is important as it determines who is considered responsible for a child's care and wellbeing.

The Act defines harm as follows:
Harm, to a child, is any detrimental effect of a significant nature on the child’s physical, psychological or emotional wellbeing.
A child in need of protection is a child who —
(a) has suffered significant harm, is suffering significant harm, or is at an unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm; and
(b) does not have a parent able and willing to protect the child from the significant harm.

Mandatory reporting requirements in legislation are recognised as one way to place a responsibility on certain professionals who work with children and their families to appropriately report child protection concerns to the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.

Mandatory reporting provisions in the Act apply to doctors, registered nurses, teachers employed at a school, certain police officers, persons engaged to perform a child advocate function under the Public Guardian Act 2014 and, early childhood education and care professionals.

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