There was a case that came to light yesterday that’s making my blood boil.
The bare facts are this:
A 13 year old girl whose parents have split, returned from visiting her father in Queensland to her mother’s home in NSW. Mother wasn’t there. For days. Finally the girl calls police and they notify DOCS.
The mother is found – she’d gone to stay with friends in Woollongong without bothering to tell her daughter- and the girl is put on a train by one DOCS worker, to be met at the other end by another DOCS worker, to be reunited with her mother.
Somewhere along the way, the girl does a runner – possibly not keen on being reuinited with the mother who had left her to fend for herself?? – and the girl’s parents blame DOCS. Threaten to sue. Even though she was quickly found and is safe.
Why is this DOCS’ fault? Plenty of 13 year olds catch public transport. This kid wasn’t troubled and had no history with DOCS. SHE was the one who had contacted police to report her mother missing!!
Was putting her on a train really negligent?
And what kind of parents have no contact with their own child for
several days when she’s travelling between states? They didn’t notice
she was ‘missing’ during that time and it was the GIRL who contacted
police because she was distressed. What about THEIR responsibility in
DOCS is not a perfect organisation but what about the responsibility
of the parents in this case? Why aren’t THEY being charged with neglect?
Instead, the father has said:
"I’m a crane driver and we’ve got a duty of care to people at
work. If I put someone in that much danger I could lose my job.
"I want her safe and then I’m going to take these people apart.
I’m going to write representations against DOCS, I’ll need some
legal help here.
"They’re not getting away with this crap. She could be dead. I
The mother made similar statements, slamming DOCS.
Gee, I wonder how long before he gets a paid interview on ACA or Today Tonight….?
The result of the whole public outcry – a classic bit of DOCS
bashing – is that now a DOCS worker will accompany every child
everywhere. Meaning there will be far less workers on the front line
able to investigate real cases of dire abuse, like the shocking ones
we’ve seen this week.