DoCS ignores mum's pleas

A TWEED mum who fears her four-year-old foster daughter was sexually abused, may be forced to abandon the child after being repeatedly turned away by the local child protection service. The Tweed Heads woman said she first approached the Department of Community Services (DoCS) two years ago upon seeing bruises on the then two-year-old's inner thighs. However the woman said a DoCS worker dismissed the incident as a result of a "nappy tied too tight". The woman said over the past year, she had been approached by two other foster carers with similar concerns regarding the girl. However, matters came to a head six weeks ago when she caught the four-year-old copying an explicit sex act on her two-and-a-half-year-old biological brother. Since then the foster mother said, she has frequently observed the girl touching her foster sister's vagina and kissing her "passionately" on the mouth. Horrified, the woman again turned to DoCS for help but to no avail. A call on October 6 and a visit to the local DoCS office two days later produced no results. "I was told they will send a sexual x assault counsellor in a couple of days," she said. "That was two weeks ago." The foster mother, who is just 21 years old and has four children under the age of four, including the two foster children, said she was finding it hard to cope. "It is not her fault and I love her like my own daughter, but I don't know whether I can keep looking after her," she said. "DoCS haven't even told me how to deal with this. "I can't handle this on my own." Tweed MP Geoff Provest, who wrote to the Minister late last month on behalf of the foster mother and her partner, said he did not want to see Tweed become a headline for all the wrong reasons. "We don't need any more tragedies," Mr Provest said. DoCS has recently been under fire following the death of a 14-month-old Sydney boy over the weekend. The boy, who was living with a convicted killer, was known to DoCS. Last week nine-year-old Shellay Ward, also known to the department, died from starvation at her home in Hawks Nest. And in another case, a 13-year-old has been reported to be living alone after the recent death of her father. Replying to the Daily News, the Community Services Minister Kevin Greene yesterday said he had spoken to the Director General of DoCS and asked to him to investigate the matter. "I've instructed the DG to urgently look into the matter and ensure all necessary action is taken to address the concerns of the family," Mr Greene said. A spokeswoman for the minister acknowledged the family was known to the department but could not confirm the reason for the delay in action.

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