Australia: Wrongly taken girl denied visit with dying dad
There seems to be no limit to social worker evil
A FIVE-year-old girl wrongly removed from her parents was denied a visit with her dying father, even after the Ombudsman ruled DOCS bungled the case. In a horror start to her life, the girl has suffered from cancer, lost her father and spent more than two years separated from her family because of decisions that should not have been made.
DOCS will be forced to pay compensation to the family of the Sydney girl, who had never been abused or neglected.
Community Services Minister Linda Burney was notified of the case in September and this month did not override her department's decision to prevent the girl from travelling to Taiwan for her father's funeral. Yesterday she said the case was before the court until February and that it was "inappropriate for me to intervene."
Deputy Ombudsman Steve Kinmond found the girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was removed after a DOCS case worker made "significant errors in her interpretation" of an interview with the girl's teenage sister.
DOCS wrongly and repeatedly told the Children's Court the teenager had claimed her brother had sexually abused her and that their mother had failed to act. Police were notified of the claims and never pursued action against the boy.
Mr Kinmond found the teenage girl's statements were "misconstrued when given to [the mother] and the Children's Court."
Errors repeated to government departments and in affidavits led to the mother being tagged as "non protective of children, unwilling to believe [her eldest daughter] and dishonest".
After her children were removed the mother admitted to disciplining her teenage daughter with a bamboo cane, leading to a conviction for assault.
Mr Kinmond found the errors were crucial in the removal of the woman's youngest child who had been diagnosed with a neuroblastoma and treated with chemotherapy when four months old.
His report was handed to DOCS on March 30 but just weeks later when the girl's father was dying of cancer, DOCS refused to let the girl's mother take her to Taiwan for his funeral. "DOCS has a hard job. I understand many children need to be removed. That was not the case here; it has been a total miscarriage of justice," Opposition Community Services spokeswoman Pru Goward said.
DOCS has offered an "unconditional apology" to the mother and wrote "it is clear information wrongly summarised from an interview was relied upon in court."