PREMIER, YOU HAVE TO ACT
OUR special report today on Child Safety Services adds huge weight to warnings by this newspaper and welfare workers that the system is broken.
Two weeks ago the Bulletin said the Premier and her ministers had to stop hiding behind senior bureaucrats whenever under pressure. We said it was time for Annastacia Palaszczuk and Child Safety Minister Di Farmer to step out of the shadows and take responsibility.
There has been no official response to that challenge.
But today, in light of damning revelations not only in the case of the ninemonth-old baby whose little body was found washed up on a Surfers Paradise beach, but also that crisis cases are being allocated to staff who no longer work for Child Safety – leaving vulnerable children at risk and in limbo – the Palaszczuk Government must act.
This should not be left to reviews behind closed doors.
It is a time for transparency. It is a time for leadership.
Those children have effectively been abandoned because either Child Safety does not have the staff and resources to cover the load, or there have been shocking instances of lack of communication – or worse, incompetence that in some cases meant little kids in high-risk situations were not properly cared for or monitored for a year.
Whatever the reason, the authorities charged with responsibility for the welfare of children at risk have failed in too many instances. The examples in our report today are damning and deeply concerning.
Adding to worrying instances in which children on the Gold Coast have been harmed, we have learned of one office where more than 40 children were allocated to officers who were no longer there.
A review of Child Safety operations must be held.
Yet again, we urge Ms Palaszczuk to step up to protect the children.