(Image source: New York Daily News)
An ice scourge which is sweeping through corridors of southeast and Central Queensland is having a major impact upon children, according to the latest report.
Released by Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman, data from the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services revealed that 749 children who were found to be in need of protection in 2016 had a parent using the drug.
This equates to one in every three children who need protection.
Almost 40 percent of parental ice usage was centred in two ‘corridors through Ipswich North and Brisbane North through to Caloundra and through the Gold Coast including Beenleigh.
A further 34 percent was found in three regions, including Rockhampton to Aitkenvale (including Townsville and Emerald; Gympie, Maryborough and Bundaberg; and Springfield to Mount Gravatt (including Browns Plains).
Of those children where parental methamphetamine use was recorded, neglect was the most common serious harm type detected (59 percent) followed by emotional harm (29 percent) and physical harm (11 percent).
Furthermore, children whose parents had used ice were more likely than other children who came into the department to have at least one parent with criminal history, a parent who had currently or previously diagnosed with mental illness, experience of family violence within the past year and/or be homeless.
Sixty percent of children who had a parent using ice were under five years of age.
Fentiman said the data was alarming.
She said the prevalence of ice use amongst parents demonstrates the need for early intervention with in-home help to assist them to become better parents.
“The new child safety figures are deeply disturbing and demonstrate the damaging impact of ice on communities right across the state,” Fentiman said.
But Shadow Child Safety Minister Ross Bates hit back, accusing the government of focusing on ice and hiding other data which she said exposed poor performance elsewhere within the child safety system.
Pointing out that 62 percent of all at-risk children were not having their investigations started within the recommended timeframes, Bates said the system had stalled under a do-nothing and secretive government.
“Labor’s embattled Child Safety Minister can try to raise the spectre of Ice use among abusive parents but whichever way you look at it, hundreds of at-risk children are still not being seen to within the required 24-hour timeframe,” Bates said.