Child protection legislation

The Child Protection Act 1999 (the Act) is the legal framework guiding the Department of  Child Safety, Seniors and Disability Services in child protection.

The main principle of the Act is that the safety, wellbeing and best interests of a child, both through childhood and for the rest of the child’s life, are paramount. Other principles include:

  • a child’s family has the primary responsibility for the child’s upbringing, protection and development;
  • the preferred way of ensuring a child's welfare is through support of 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;
  • if a child is removed from the child’s family, support should be given to the child and the child’s family for the purpose of allowing the child to return to the child’s family if the return is in the child’s best interests;
  • if a child does not have a parent able and willing to give the child ongoing protection in the foreseeable future, the child should have long-term alternative care;
  • where possible a child should be placed in the care of kin and with their siblings;
  • a child should be able to maintain relationships with the child’s parents and kin, if it is appropriate for the child;
  • a child should be able to know, explore and maintain the child’s identity and values, including their cultural, ethnic and religious identity and values;
  • a child has the right to express the child’s views about what is, and is not, in the child’s best interests; and
  • principles for achieving permanency for a child.

The Child Protection Regulation 2023 (the Regulation) came into effect on 1 September 2023 and replaces the Child Protection Regulation 2011. The Regulation provides for various administrative decision making and operational processes under the Act.

Children's Court Act 1992

The Children’s Court of Queensland hears matters involving child protection and certain adoption cases.

Public Guardian Act 2014

The Office of the Public Guardian provides individual advocacy services for vulnerable children and young people and oversees the community visitors program for children in out of home care, youth detention, corrective services and mental facilities.

For more information, visit the Office of the Public Guardian website.

Family and Child Commission Act 2014

The Queensland Family and Child Commission provides systemic leadership, research and oversight of the child protection system in Queensland. The commission, which reports directly to the Premier, also promotes family responsibility and maintains a register of all child deaths in Queensland. 

For more information, visit the Queensland Family and Child Commission website.

The Department of Justice and Attorney-General has responsibility of the Children's Court Act 1992, the Public Guardian Act 2014 and the Family and Child Commission Act 2014.