Queensland child safety staff stood down
- Category: Child Protection Queensland media and newspaper articles
- Created: Wednesday, 23 November 2016 08:55
- Written by Jamie McKinnell - AAP
The jobs of a dozen Queensland child safety staff are on the line after a report exposed "serious errors of judgment" in the handling of the case of dead toddler Mason Jet Lee.
Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman on Wednesday revealed three staff had been immediately stood down on full pay and a further nine were facing an ethical standards investigation into the matter.
An initial report into the case identified shortcomings at the Caboolture Child Safety Service Centre but made no finding of systemic failures across the department.
"It does highlight that the Caboolture region has been under incredible pressure since about 2013," Ms Fentiman said.
"It does note considerable staff have been allocated to the region but it hasn't kept up with demand."
Ms Fentiman said the 12 staff, if found to have breached their code of conduct, could face disciplinary action under the Public Service Act including suspension and termination.
"This report highlights that there were serious errors of judgment and legislation, policy and practice was not followed," she said.
Mason died in June with injuries from head to toe after being released from hospital just three months earlier and three people, including his mother and stepfather, have been charged with manslaughter.
The report was handed to an independent review panel, the Queensland coroner, the Family and Child Commission and police.
The ethical standards probe could take up to 12 weeks.
Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls repeated calls for Ms Fentiman's resignation, saying her failure to proactively resolve issues was endangering more lives.
"Every second, every minute and every day that this system is allowed to continue without being fixed puts a child's safety at risk," Mr Nicholls said.
Ms Fentiman said she still had the support of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Family and Child Commissioner Cheryl Vardon said a rigorous review would ensure the tragedy was never repeated.
"I was appalled and shocked and distressed," she said when asked about her reaction to the report.
But it was "a big leap" to conclude that if staff had acted differently, 21-month-old Mason may have lived, she added.
"It's our job to look forward now and to make sure that he didn't die in vain," Ms Vardon said.
Ms Fentiman announced she would split the existing north coast child safety region in two.
Together Union secretary Alex Scott said the investigation should be carried out by a different department because the staff had been failed.
"We will not allow our members to be scapegoats," he said.
Source : https://au.news.yahoo.com/qld/a/33297021/child-safety-report-damning-qld-opp/?cmp=st#page1