Minister Rachel Sanderson announced today that the Government had appointed District Court Judge Paul Rice to conduct a “swift and thorough” review into the protocols and reporting practices of her Department.
It comes after she revealed she did not know about the sexual abuse of two young girls in state care until media inquiries were made.
The first case involved the shocking abuse case of a 13-year-old girl in a residential care home, who was preyed upon in January by paedophile Matthew McIntyre.
McIntyre was found guilty in September of grooming the girl using the teenage dating app MyLOL and having unlawful sexual intercourse.
But Sanderson was only made aware of the case after her office was contacted by the media following McIntyre’s sentencing.
The second case emerged last week, in which paedophile Philip Edwin McIntosh had been living with his 13-year-old victim while she was in state care and pregnant to a different man.
McIntosh met his victim at a Hindley Street nightclub and started a sexual relationship with her despite later learning her actual age.
Like the first case, Sanderson was only made aware of the circumstances after McIntosh was sentenced in the District Court.
She today announced Rice would start work on the review from tomorrow, with a report expected to be handed back to the Government before February 9.
The report is expected to include recommendations for reform.
“There is no doubt the details of these recent child protection cases are concerning and unacceptable – and that’s why we will be seeking answers via an independent review into the Department for Child Protection,” Sanderson said.
“We rightly want to get to the bottom of these concerning cases and why I wasn’t informed until court sentencing.
“Since coming into Government, we have been working hard every day to ensure we improve outcomes for children and young people in care and their safety and wellbeing remains our priority.”
The review will consider the Department’s critical incident policies and procedures, including whether the practices fulfil recommendations made by recent royal commissions, inquests and inquiries.
It will also examine the failures of the Department to notify Sanderson of the charges against McIntyre and McIntosh.
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