Child protection inquiry labelled ‘a facade’ by NT Ombudsman Carolyn Richards

Natasha Robinson; 8/2/10

The Northern Territory Ombudsman has labelled an official inquiry into child protection “a facade” and accused the Henderson government of trying to muzzle her. Following damning evidence in a previously secret report of a near-total breakdown in the territory’s child protection services, ombudsman Carolyn Richards said the government was still failing to protect its most vulnerable children. Recent coronial findings into the death of 12-year-old Deborah Melville, who died in the dirt in her carers’ backyard in 2007, and a seven-week-old baby who starved in the back of his mother’s car in 2005 after authorities bungled the case, have exposed a child protection system on the brink in the Territory. The previously suppressed report by auditor Howard Bath – details of which were revealed by The Weekend Australian on Saturday – contained a number of cases where the state had exposed children in care to harm.

See:; Saying sorry not enough to save the little children’ Editrial; 8/2/10;