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Protected Beyond Death
February 10, 2009 permalink
Australia is even more protective of its social services than Canada, suppressing the names of almost all dead foster children. A mother and her ten-year-old daughter must remain anonymous, avoiding public embarrassment for the persons responsible for the girl's abduction and death.
Mum demands answers after daughter's death
Melinda Siegmeier | 9th February 2009
HER daughter was becoming a beautiful young lady, but a Rockhampton mother's dream to have her back at home was shattered on the weekend.
Lost and scared, the vibrant 10-year-old girl was allegedly trying to wave down a passing car along an unlit section of Belmont Road, but the driver could not see her.
She was knocked down and died instantly.
Yesterday the distraught mother (pictured above) lashed out at the Department of Child Safety, blaming it for her daughter's tragic death.
“How can I protect her when they took her off me? It was now their responsibility and what care did they give her?” she said.
“I've been fighting to get my family back for two years. It just shouldn't have happened. They had a duty of care and neglected it.”
Yesterday The Morning Bulletin spoke to the mother about her daughter and the events that had led to the fatal accident about 9pm on Saturday.
The mother and child cannot be named, even after the child's death, as it would breach the Child Protection Act because of their involvement with the Department of Child Safety.
The woman, 37, who is now eight months pregnant with her eighth child, said her daughter was the “best girl you would ever meet”.
“They have stolen her whole life. She'd just turned into a little lady,” she said.
“I miss her so much.”
On the night of the accident, the girl had run away from her foster home.
According to her mother, this wasn't the first time it had happened.
The woman said her daughter would always run back to her and had begged the department to let her return home.
She said her daughter was running away because another girl at the home kept “bashing her up”.
“Last time she had her earrings ripped out. We begged Child Safety not to put her back in that home because she said she would just keep running away,” she said.
“They promised they wouldn't send her back there, but they did. They promised they would remove the other girl, but they didn't. She rang and told me she was hurt again.”
The girl was with a 17-year-old girl when they got lost.
The mother said police had told her that the 17-year-old called triple-0 and when she saw a car she was told to try to wave it down safely.
However, in the unlit street, the mother said, the driver, whom she held nothing against, had no chance of seeing her child.
The woman said she lost care of her five younger children two years ago.
“I ran up to the shop for no more than three to five minutes. I know I shouldn't have done that. During that time, my eight-year-old tried to take the baby from the high chair. She tripped and dropped the baby. I immediately rang the ambulance and did all the right things. The department said they would only be gone for one week and one week turned into two years.”
The woman said since losing custody she had completed parenting classes, sought counselling and registered for an alcoholic program.
Queensland Department of Child Safety media manager Jan Martin said although she couldn't discuss specific cases, the death of any child was “deeply distressing and my sincere sympathies go out to the family”.
“The death of a child in care is extensively examined by the Department of Child Safety and the relevant independent authorities,” Ms Martin said.
“For instance, when a child in care dies, the coroner is advised. The coroner makes a decision about autopsy requirements and, having reviewed the autopsy report, decides whether to inquire further.
“Separately, the department also reviews the circumstances of the death and a reviewer prepares a report, which is provided to an independent child death review committee.
“The review looks at whether our interventions, policies, procedures and interactions with other agencies were adequate and appropriate.
“The circumstances surrounding this case will be detailed as part of the review process.”
They have stolen her whole life. She'd just turned into a little lady
Source: Rockhampton Morning Bulletin