The decision to report on the death of a three-month-old baby subject to a Child Safety Service open notification is not one taken lightly.
It’s a tragic event for not only the family, but the community at large.
Tasmania’s child protection system has long been under pressure and scrutiny, and dominated debate in parliament.
Reporting on such cases highlights the struggles within a government department that is responsible for keeping vulnerable people safe.
The department deals with many complex scenarios varying in severity.
An open notification could be a result of a simple suggestion or complaint against someone.
In the most recent case, Tasmania Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.
However, what would a check-up from the department have achieved?
Without knowing all the facts it’s difficult to determine.
What’s evident is that pressure is mounting on Will Hodgman’s government to lift its game in this space.
The Liberals have already had almost five years in government to sort it out, now it’s time for them to deliver on their commitment to invest an additional $24 million over four years, employ up to 25 more child safety officers and other frontline staff.
Under-resourced departments lead to mistakes. At times they can be fatal when children are in the hands of inexperienced mums and dads, in violent environments or just neglected.
Early intervention is paramount.
Tragic circumstances are by no way the result of the staff within the department.
They can only do what they can with the resources at hand.
Labor says there “would be unallocated cases across the state, that means that there are Tasmanian children at risk who don’t have a caseworker available to look out for them”.
Let’s hope the state government’s actions are a bit more swift in providing resources during its second term.