INVESTIGATION NEEDED INTO GOVERNMENT FAILURE IN CASE OF FOSTER CARE NEGLECT

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The Baird Government must launch an independent investigation into why a couple who were the subject of multiple complaints about their neglect of children in their care remain as foster carers.

Minister for Family and Community Services Brad Hazzard needs to explain why his Department ignored a 2013 NSW Ombudsman investigation that recommended the couple’s authorisation to be foster carers be revoked.

The Ombudsman investigated multiple complaints about the NSW couple and found that the children in their care were exposed to adult products and pornography.

One child was even locked in his room at night – a practice the Ombudsman said was “extremely dangerous” – and was forced to rely on nappies at the age of eight.

The Ombudsman also found “overwhelming evidence” that the couple repeatedly misled doctors, the Department of Community Services and other agencies.

It concluded in May 2013 that the couple’s authorisation to be foster carers should be cancelled.

More than two years after that report, the children still remained in the couple's care until earlier this month.

Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services Tania Mihailuk

"Minister Hazzard has some serious questions to answer about why his Department continues to ignore Ombudsman’s report and allow this couple to remain as foster carers.”

“The system is clearly not working if children are being placed in the care of people with a known history of neglect against children.”

"Clearly there needs to be better screening and levels of oversight to ensure children are not exposed to people who are not fit to be foster carers.”