CHILD Safety has failed to investigate reports of abuse against thousands of Queensland children within target times, as "ice babies" overwhelm the system.
Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston yesterday demanded that drug addicts and drunks hand over their children to stable families for adoption.
"It's impossible to keep up with this scourge of parents who are hopeless,'' she told The Courier-Mail.
"Adoption is something you need to put back in the mix.''
Shocking new statistics reveal that half the children reported for abuse or neglect in Queensland are waiting more than 29 days for the Child Safety Department to open an investigation.
Barely a third of urgent cases are investigated within Child Safety's own 10-day target.
One in every three children who came into Child Safety's care last year had a parent who was using or had used methamphetamine - better known as ice.
Ms Johnston said some of the best parents are poor, but there was "probably an element of truth'' to claims that welfare payments encourage addicts to have more children.
"We're getting increased dysfunction in our community from drug and alcohol abuse and ice,'' she said.
"We have thousands of children mistreated by their own parents and the state and the taxpayer are being left to tidy that up.
"We need parents to step up - if you're not prepared to prioritise your child's best interests over drugs and alcohol you need to give your child up to someone who will.''
A new Productivity Commission report reveals that Queensland is taking longer than other states and territories to investigate reports of child neglect or abuse.
Child Safety took more than a month to begin investigating half its reports, involving 11,355 children, in 2016-17 - compared to a national average of 17 per cent.
In Queensland, 42 per cent of investigations took more than three months to complete - double the national average.
Taxpayers spent $1 billion last year funding Queensland's Child Safety Department, which employs 2860 staff - including 129 recruited last year, with 236 more to be hired this year.
Child Safety Minister Di Farmer said Queensland was the only state that fully investigated all notifications of child abuse or neglect, so its data could not be compared nationally.
"We are also the only jurisdiction that insists on sighting the child before an investigation can be considered commenced,'' she said.
Ms Farmer said 91.6 per cent of investigations into the most urgent cases began within 24 hours of notification.