Department warned before toddler died

13 Feb 2009 3:19 PMJann Stuckey

The death of a two year-old boy in foster care in north Queensland raised serious questions about the Bligh Government’s child safety system and placement principles, the State Opposition said today.

LNP child safety spokeswoman Jann Stuckey said the toddler was deemed to be at such risk by the Department of Child Safety, he was removed from his family and placed in foster care.

“But I am informed that the child was placed with an elderly carer who already had three other children aged ten years and under in her care,”
Ms Stuckey said.

Ms Stuckey said the dead boy’s family have claimed they consistently raised concerns with the Department about the child’s placement in the weeks prior to his death.

“With more than 7,000 children in care last financial year, it’s clear that our child protection system is struggling under the Labor Government.

“Children should be protected when they are placed in care, not exposed to further risks that leads to a loss of life.”

Ms Stuckey said in 2007/08, the number of children who died that was known to the Department reached a record high. It appeared that five years after major changes to child protection were heralded by the Labor Government, little had changed.

“January’s death of a two year-old child raises serious questions about this government’s policy of placing young children in crowded and unsuitable foster care.”

13 February 2009

Media contact: Jann Stuckey 0439 755 919