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March 19, 2012 permalink
Three years after Luke Borusiewicz, age 2, died in the custody of Australian child protectors, not only does his father have no answers about the death, but his own name and face are eradicated from the public domain.
Grieving dad just wants answers
LITTLE Luke has been dead longer than he was alive - but his father Michael is still trying to find out how and why he died.
The blond, blue-eyed boy was just two years and four months old when he died in his father's arms in hospital in January 2009.
He had been in a coma for six days after being admitted with head injuries suffered while in foster care.
More than three years later, Michael is still waiting for answers about what happened.
Northern Coroner Kevin Priestly has opened an inquest, but no date has yet been set for a hearing.
Six months ago, after criticism over other cases, Child Safety Minister Phil Reeves said he was seeking to have the results of child death case review committee reports released publicly. But the Department of Communities last week refused a Sunday Mail request for the report on Luke's death because it believed it could prejudice an inquest.
Court orders mean we can't even tell you their surname or show you their photographs without disguising them. The heart-broken Cairns father says he is determined to get the full facts and is calling for an inquiry into the child protection system.
"This is my reason for living now," he said.
On the day of his son's funeral, Michael called child support workers and told them: "I'm looking at my boy - he's in his coffin. I just rang to say 'I'm coming for youse'."
Luke was taken into care because both his parents had been drug users, although Michael says he was clean and holding down a full-time job for six months before Luke died.
Meanwhile, State Coroner Michael Barnes is still considering whether to reopen inquests on two girls who apparently killed themselves within weeks of each other in 2009.
The state's child death review committee criticised child safety officials and police over the deaths of 16-year-olds Zoe Gough and her friend Felicia Goodson, both from Maryborough.
The Australian newspaper said the report on Felicia's case found that "inaction" by Child Safety Services after repeated disclosures of sexual abuse and requests for help were directly related to her suicide.
In Zoe's case, the report found that the department was not ultimately responsible for her death, but highlighted systemic failure to protect her.
She had been in and out of care for nearly a decade. A spokesman for the State Coroner said he was "awaiting information from agencies" before making a decision.