THE nine-month-old baby whose body washed ashore on a Gold Coast beach this month was never made a priorty or checked by officers of the Department of Child Safety Services (DOCS).
Police warned the department of the urgency of the case when they had the baby in their care about 3am on the day she died. However, DOCS only listed her as “concerned inquiry of the child”.
DOCS ignored repeated police calls for back up on November 17. Gold Coast cops became so frsutrated they drove the homeless family to relatives across the border.
Only hours later the baby was allegedly tossed in the Tweed River by her father. Her body washed up on Surfers Paradise beach less than two days later.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Child Safety Minister Di Farmer have declined to answer Bulletin questions about DOCS’ role in the past week, citing the Child Protection Act, but Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said it was “very difficult for human services to maintain contact and provide services”.
A government source said: “The homeless family were in the company of the police at the time DOCS were notified. The lack of intervention by DOCS resulted in the police transporting the family to NSW. It was originally listed as a child concern matter. But the last call from police, they elevated it to a priority matter.”
A visit by Child Safety would have ensured a medical assessment of the baby and parents.
The Bulletin has reported police were called at 9.50am on Friday, November 16, after a Broadbeach worker heard baby screams and adults yelling. Officers visited and again returned at 6pm and about 3am on the Saturday, finding the parents allegedly intoxicated.
Despite repeated calls and emails from concerned residents, workers in the Broadbeach area and police since May, friends of the family say only cops and council workers intervened.
Opposition spokesperson for women Ros Bates said Child Safety should have investigated.
“Had this been done this child would be still alive today,” the Mudgeeraba MP said. “There is no two ways about it. Same would have applied for (Caboolture youngster) Mason Jett Lee had the department done its job of protecting that little fella.”
The department could have applied for a temporary custody order.
“What we are seeing is an under-resourced, under-skilled child safety department struggling to keep up and children are paying the ultimate price with their life.”