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Building the house of child protection

by PeakCare Qld on 24th November 2016

Home -> Articles -> 2016 -> November -> Building the house of child protection

Have you ever built a house? If so, you’ll know just how complex it can be.

Choosing the right design, not just for now but with an eye on meeting the needs of whoever else might be joining your household in the future. Making sure the design fits within any restrictions posed by the blocks of land you are thinking about buying. Choosing an architect and a builder that you have confidence in and you have reason to believe will work well together and be on the same page as you concerning your hopes and wishes for your new home. Obtaining the right council and bank approvals and ‘go-aheads’ at the right time and guarding against a cost blow-out in your selection of PC items and earning the wrath of your bank manager if you don’t do this well. Picking appliances and colours, coordinating trades, arranging inspections, making yourself available to answer questions and ‘trouble-shoot’, and while all of this is going on, making sure you have somewhere to store belongings, have a place to live and can attend to all the usual commitments you have that don’t just disappear.

Of course, if in the process of building a house, things go wrong, the results can be disastrous. The price to be paid for repairing the damage done can be enormous and to track back and discover exactly what went wrong and who or what should be held to account can be a nightmare. Was it the builder’s fault or a flaw in the design itself and your own expectations about your home’s functionality or appearance? Was it the fault of one or more of the tradies or did the problem lie in the instructions they were given, or with the tools they used or the construction materials they had to work with? Was there a problem with the training they received or in the Building Code itself or perhaps in the ways in which the building inspections were conducted? Were the problems about the house’s framework, its fittings and fixtures or was it about the slab it sits on? Was it the fault of the architect or some chippie who forgot to bolt everything down nice and tight?

The complexity of reforming a child protection system whilst continuing to meet an increasing level of demand for the ongoing delivery of services makes building a house seem like a relatively simple task. And when things go wrong within this system, the processes used to both hold the system to account and limit the possibility of these problems ever occurring again must be comprehensive, thorough and rigorous. This is the stage we are now at in identifying, examining and responding to all factors that may have contributed to the death of Mason Lee. It’s not an easy process to endure – either for those whose actions or inactions may be made subject to questioning or for those charged with the onerous responsibility of conducting the investigations and reviews or for those who are responsible for the decisions to be made in response to the findings and recommendations that are received.

They are necessary processes however and the best means available to us to honour the lives of children who have died and, in their name, pursue improvements to the child protection system. Our obligations to these children and their families are to make sure that these processes are undertaken sensitively, impartially and well.

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