NT girl placed in care 50 times in six years was denied school and medical treatment

A Northern Territory woman who was placed into child protection more than 50 times over six years has told a royal commission she feels let down by the system.

A Northern Territory girl was placed in child protection more than 50 times over six years, during which she missed years of school, went to the dentist just once and wasn't treated for scabies, the royal commission has been told.

The woman, known as AH, was first put into care when she was 11-months-old - the first of countless residential and foster care homes.

AH said at 13 she stopped going to school but case managers did nothing about her truancy, which she says was a "big cry out for help".

"If someone in welfare isn't going to school how come they don't get in trouble? I haven't been to school for four years and I feel let down, I feel really let down," she said.

"No-one actually cares about you emotionally. You're a case file, you're just a number."

AH said she's had more than 12 family support workers, who downplayed her requests for medical attention.

"A whole six years I've been in care, I've been to the dentist once," she said.

The girl contracted scabies after moving into a new foster home, and was told her bedsheets hadn't been washed since a previous child in care, who had scabies, had left.

AH said she complained about the rash but her case manager and family support worker shrugged it off ... "they just said it was pimples and not to worry about it", she said.

She was rarely put in the same placement as her siblings and was given little warning before she being shifted to a new home.

Twenty years after the landmark Bringing Them Home report into the Stolen Generation was released, the rise in the rate of removal of Aboriginal kids from their families has continued unabated, counsel assisting the commission Tony McAvoy SC said.

"The most egregious act the state can inflict upon a person is the removal, by force, of their children," he told the inquiry's Alice Springs hearing on Monday.

Mr McAvoy said it's shameful that Territory kids receive child protection services at three times the national rate.

Territory Families continued to be underfunded and understaffed, and the child protection system had "many, many failings".

Mr McAvoy said taking children away from their families had "catastrophic" consequences, must be avoided and should only be done with extreme care.

Source : http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/nitv-news/article/2017/05/29/nt-girl-placed-care-50-times-six-years-was-denied-school-and-medical-treatment


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