Territory slammed over child deaths
Lex Hall; 20/1/10
The Northern Territory government has admitted failures within its child protection system set up the circumstances that led to the deaths of two children. Coroner Greg Cavanagh yesterday warned that “chaos and dysfunction” in the system would increase unless there were tighter laws, more caseworkers and stricter reporting, as he handed down his findings on the deaths of 12-year-old Deborah Melville in 2007 and of a seven-week-old baby in 2005. Deborah was one month from her 13th birthday when she died in the dirt outside her foster carer’s Palmerston house, after a leg injury was left untreated. The inquest heard she was living in a three-bedroom home with up to 18 others while her great-aunt, Denise Reynolds, worked full-time and went to the Darwin casino to gamble most evenings.