The Queensland Family and Child Commission wants to increase the number of Kinship carers by scrapping blue card requirements.
A report from the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC) found the blue card program was creating unnecessary barriers for Indigenous people by focusing on “irrelevant information,” and relying on “over policing and subjective assessments”.
“The unintended consequence of the finality of blue card eligibility decision can undermine the primacy of the paramount principle, that decisions and actions are in the best interests of the individual child, now and for the duration of the child’s life”, the report says.
The Queensland government says the blue card system “contributes to the creation of safe service environments for children in various ways” and involves rigorous background checks.
Blue card checks look for charges, convictions or any offences in Australia even if no conviction was recorded including pending or non-conviction charges.
Checks also consider child protection orders, domestic violence information and police investigative information.
The report says this causes additional barriers for First Nations people given their “contact with the criminal justice system is at much higher rates than non-Indigenous people”.
The report highlights that the system provides limited support for Indigenous applicants.
“Current Blue Card Services processes and systems are not culturally appropriate and cultural considerations do not form part of the decision-making process.
There is a lack of community education and culturally appropriate information and resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
A dual process between assessment by Child Safety about suitability to place a child, followed by a second Blue Card assessment may result in a different outcome.”
Queensland has the second lowest rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kinship care in Australia, sitting at 21.7 per cent,
QFCC Commissioner Natlaie Lewis has told the Guardian those barriers are stopping children from receiving culturally appropriate care.
“Constraints of the current system will mean more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children will continue to be placed with strangers or in residential care instead of with kin.”
“That is not in the best interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and therefore not acceptable.”