Minister must explain child death circumstances

• Labor’s embattled Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman has refused to explain how 51 children, who were known to child safety, died under her watch that were not seen by her Department
• The latest March 2016 data showed more than 11,700 children suspected of abuse were not seen in the required timeframe
• A further 3200 children were sitting on the waiting list for the waiting list of suspected abuse

Annastacia Palaszczuk’s embattled Child Safety Minister has refused to explain how many of the 51 child deaths known to her Department in the 2015/16 year occurred whilst waiting for action.

Shadow Minister for Child Safety Ros Bates said Shannon Fentiman was once again hiding behind reviews to avoid talking about the crisis unfolding under her watch when asked the simple question in State Parliament today*.

“What does the Minister have to hide by refusing to answer a question on such an important issue as child deaths known to her Department given the ongoing public scrutiny of this issue?” Ms Bates said.

“Ms Fentiman is deliberately avoiding parliamentary scrutiny as she ducks and weaves on child deaths and abuse case backlogs.

“Our hard working child safety staff are being stretched to breaking point with no help and no answers from this Labor Government.”

Ms Bates said the latest March 2016 data showed more than 11,700 children suspected of abuse were not seen in the required timeframe and a further 3200 children were sitting on the waiting list for the waiting list of suspected abuse.

“Too many of our most vulnerable children are being let down by a Labor Government that refuses to give our frontline child safety staff the resources and support they need to fix this crisis,” she said.

“The Minister is continuing to avoid taking any responsibility for the failures within her own portfolio.”

*Question from Shadow Child Safety Minister Ros Bates to Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman (State Parliament, Tuesday August 17, 2016):

“Of the 51 child deaths known to the Department in the last 12 months (15/16) how many other children died waiting for the department to take action?

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