Monday, 2 June 2008

Palm Island standing up for child protection: Minister

Palm Island standing up for child protection: Minister
Minister for Child Safety and Women Margaret Keech congratulated Palm Island community members for their commitment to child protection.
During an overnight visit to the community this week, Mrs Keech presented certificates of appreciation to the Kootana Women's Group and the Community Justice Group for their hard work in protecting the island's children.
"It's clear there are some amazing people on Palm Island with a strong commitment to child protection," she said.
"They are working hard to help ensure the safety and wellbeing of the community's future - the children.
"By providing support and education for parents and respite for local carers these groups are a fine example of Indigenous communities proactively addressing the issues they face.
"However, it is a sad fact that some children on the Island continue to suffer from abuse and neglect.
"There are 57 children from the community in the care of the Department, with 25 of those living in the community and the remainder placed on the mainland.
"In my mind, this is 57 children too many.
"It's very heartening to note, however, that all of these children are in the care of family members or people connected to the Palm Island community."
Mrs Keech also welcomed a commitment by Mayor Alf Lacey to fast-track council approvals for a Safe House which would allow children in need of protection to remain safely on the island.
"This safe house will ensure children can remain in the community while their needs are assessed and any child protection issues are addressed.
"I welcome Mayor Lacey's commitment to act swiftly on this issue so that we can get this house up and running to keep Palm Island's vulnerable children safe from abuse.
"The Mayor has assured me that the Safe House is at the top of tomorrow's council meeting agenda and I look forward to hearing the outcome of those discussions."
Mrs Keech said she was encouraged by the Mayor's support for the Bligh Government's initiatives to secure the safety and wellbeing of local children.
"We are working closely with other government and non-government agencies such as Police, Education Queensland, Queensland Health and Catholic Education to keep Palm Island's kids safe," she said.
"We can't do this alone, and that's why I thanked our Government partners during my visit by presenting them with certificates of appreciation.
"Child protection is everyone's responsibility, and it's great to see a community like Palm Island taking stand against abuse."

Source: Ministerial Media Release

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