The Northern Territory news Sat 12 Dec 2009
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www.ntnews.com.au Northern Territory News, Saturday, December 12, 2009 29 P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 1 2 -D E C -2 0 0 9 P A G E : 2 9 C O L O R : K D E PA R T M E N T O F E D U C AT I O N A N D T R A I N I N G w w w .n t. g o v. a u Study grants for 2010 Higher Education Scholarships Are you a 2008 or 2009 school leaver and enrolling at university next year? Scholarships of $3500* per year are available to assist you in attaining your degree. Vocational Education and Training (VET) Scholarships Did you know training can provide alternate pathways into the workforce? Territorians enrolling in certificate III to advanced diploma level courses may be eligible for a $4000* grant. For guidelines and application forms call 8901 1309 or visit www.det.nt.gov.au/grants. Applications close Friday 5 February 2010. *Terms and Conditions apply MORATORIUM FOR EXISTING BUILDINGS TO ACHIEVE COMPLIANCE. IS YOUR HOUSE CERTIFICATION COMPLETE? UNAUTHORISED BUILDINGS OR BUILDINGS WITH INCOMPLETE CERTIFICATION MUST COMPLY BY 30 JUNE 2011. CALL HOUSPECT NOW TO BOOK YOUR BUILDING STATUS REPORT. ph 1300 655 694 LOCAL DARWIN-BASED INSPECTORS HOUSPECT BUILDING INSPECTIONS since 1983 www.houspect.com.au firstname.lastname@example.org e r2 2 0 6 0 5 Plan ahead and designate a driver to be Sober Bob. Drink or drive Dont do both!! Sober Bob www.roadsafety.nt.gov.au mg230504 for real protection SHOCKED: Northern Territory coroner Greg Cavanagh For the State to say to a parent or mother,your care is not good enough and take the child away is one thing, but when they do they must do it better than was occurring UNDER PRESSURE: Former FACS director Jenny Scott NOT GOOD ENOUGH: NT Coroner Greg Cavanagh has criticised the tendency of FACS management to dismiss problems as caused by the system Mr Currie said money needed to be channelled into preventing the abuse and neglect of children, rather than mopping up their after-effects. All of these things will continue to remain deficient in some way or another if resources remain an issue, he said. The major resources should go to the primary and secondary levels of care so we dont end up with this merry-go-round where we dont have enough resources. The model we now have is one where we wait until abuse happens and then its investigated. Mr Cavanagh criticised the tendency of FACS management to dismiss the problems as caused by the system. To dismiss criticisms that we have failed from these cases before me and others with, theyre our systemic faults, resourcing issues and thats the problem, without appreciating that human beings control, manage and resource these systems, we fail to deal with reality and it may result in goals not being met and lessons not being learned, he said. For the State to say to a parent or mother, your care is not good enough and take the child away is one thing, but when they do they must do it better than was occurring. And youd think parliament would insist by way of parliamentary mandate instead of leaving it up to administration which may be effected by resourcing and other issues. Last year, the Territory Government enacted a new Child Welfare Act. The Melville case raised many issues of statutory requirements under the old Act not being met, including overdue case reports, re-registration of Ms Reynolds and regular home visits. The inquest heard that had these requirements been fulfilled, serious problems with the placement could have been identified. The new Act has removed these obligations, leaving it up to the department to enforce the requirements as regulations. Counsel assisting the coroner Phillip Strickland SC asked Ms Scott if those requirements and responsibilities should be held to the highest account in an Act of parliament, rather than only monitored by the department itself. She said it would be useful to review the Act, which she said was currently being done. We do believe that its an important function of the system that it has some capacity to be externally reviewed, she said. Deborah Melvilles mothers lawyer Peggy Dwyer encouraged the coroner to recommend that the Act be redrafted with urgency. Its disturbing that Parliament would choose to reduce the checks and balances provided in the legislation, she said. Deborahs mum Lyn Melville roundly criticised the department in a statement she gave to the coroner, saying she went to FACS for help when she could not look after her children, but was not supported to be able to have them back. Ms Melville, 32, wants Ms Reynolds to be re-tried she and her sister Toni Melville were acquitted of Deborahs manslaughter last year but the coroner has ruled that out. Mr Cavanagh said after final submissions he would not attempt to reverse a jury verdict. Health Department lawyer Michael Maurice encouraged Mr Cavanagh not to blame Ms Reynolds, but Mr Cavanagh said he did not think she knew the child was dying or she would have taken her to the doctor. Just assume Deborah was in good health ... should the department have allowed her to remain in the care of that woman? Mr Cavanagh said. You dont need to get so far as a death to see that something shouldve been done. The mother of the baby who died in 2005 is serving a sentence for his manslaughter in South Australia. Mr Cavanagh will consider the inquest over the next month and hand down his findings and recommendations in January. We keep on flogging the carers, flogging the systems, getting rid of orphanages and other institutions saying, were going to do it better, yet we end up with the reality of these two deaths which are shocking, he said. A civilised society must look after their children, otherwise were not civilised. Something needs to be done about it.
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