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Parents Don't Need to Know About Daughter's Death
November 27, 2014 permalink
The mother of Australian foster teenager Karmah Jayne Hall found out about her daughter's suicide only from a posting on Facebook. That is bad enough, but when she called for confirmation, the foster agency and Family and Community Services both refused.
Foster care tragedy: Karmah Jayne Hall's family learnt of her death on Facebook
The biological family of a 14-year-old girl who took her own life while in foster care have told of their anguish about learning of her death via Facebook.
The family of Karmah Jayne Hall, who suicided at her foster parents' property in Sydney's north-west, claim authorities failed to inform them of her death in September.
They told the ABC they were also shocked to discover Karmah's foster father had been investigated over allegations he abused a 12-year-old girl in his care. The NSW Ombudsman cleared the man of the allegations, made five years ago.
Karmah was removed from her biological parents when she was 11 months old due to family violence and had lived with the same foster family in Kenthurst since.
Her mother, Donna Rathborne, had regular contact visits with her daughter who went missing on September 2 and was found in a shed on the foster family's property three days later. Ms Rathborne said she was stunned to hear about her daughter's death on Facebook.
"My daughter Kate rang me and said, 'Mum, I've just seen on Facebook - Rest In Peace, Karmah," Ms Rathborne told the ABC.
"I inboxed the young boy and he said, 'I'm in Cairns and my mother just told me that Karmah committed suicide'.
"I said, 'No that's not right. It's just not right'."
Ms Rathborne said she rang the foster agency, Wesley Dalmar, and Family and Community Services, which both refused to confirm the death.
Her daughter Kate then contacted the principal of Karmah's school, Galston High, who confirmed the family's worst fears.
The report comes a day after the NSW Auditor-General found that Family and Community Services is only reviewing the placements of half the foster children in its direct care.
Police are preparing a report for the coroner.
Source: The Age