Carer’s accreditation raises outrage
A FOSTER father accused of molesting a child had his carer accreditation re-approved by Child Safety three months after the abuse was alleged to have started.
A NewsRegional special investigation reveals the prominent Gold Coast businessman, aged 41, was charged in May with indecent treatment after he allegedly assaulted a boy aged under 12 “at a motel in Brisbane” and at his home on the Coast.
It is understood the offending began in August last year and the man’s carer accreditation was renewed three months later.
A source close to the case told NewsRegional the victim told authorities he woke up to the man “massaging” his body.
The offending was flagged with Child Safety in March and the man was charged with carnal knowledge on May 26.
The man, who cannot be named, appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court on August 21 and was bailed to reappear on September 18.
He has fostered dozens of children since becoming a carer in September 2015.
The shock revelation about the man’s alleged behaviour has been met with outrage from child safety campaigners and the LNP.
And it places even more pressure on Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman in the wake of the alleged sex abuse and murder of foster child Tiahleigh Palmer in 2015 and the alleged murder of Joshua Migala in April 2015.
It also follows the death of Mason Jet Lee in June last year, the alleged murder and torture of Maddilyn Rose Stokes in May, the death of a Yeppoon baby in March and the jailing in May of a Gladstone foster father who sexually abused two girls in his care.
All of these children had been through the Child Safety process and many people believe it failed them.
In August, a damning coroner’s review into child protection found major shortcomings in the department and other agencies in the deaths of 18 at-risk children.
LNP child safety spokeswoman Ros Bates said the latest case of alleged foster carer abuse showed her counterpart Shannon Fentiman and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had not learned anything from Tiahleigh’s death.
“It casts a dark cloud over the whole carer approval process,” Ms Bates said.
“The lack of leadership and ongoing crisis in child safety is undermining the good work the many thousands of carers do every day to keep our vulnerable children safe.”
Bravehearts founder and child safety campaigner Hetty Johnston said the system was failing children when it should be protecting them.
“These are the most vulnerable kids in our society,” she said. “We take them from the place where they are being harmed and place them with strangers.”
Ms Fentiman said she ordered a review of the carer’s file as soon as she was told of the allegation.
He was visited regularly and “no concerns were raised prior to March 2017,” she said.
The case was immediately referred to police, she said, and the department “moved to suspend his status as a carer”.
A Child Safety spokesperson said “concerns” about the carer were raised with the department and relayed to police.