Some children will die at the hands of the people looking after them and it is a “harsh reality” according to the the head of Tasmania’s Child Protection Services (CPS), Tony Kemp.
Tony was giving evidence at the inquest into the death of BJay Johnstone, who died when he was just 45 days old in 2012. Bjay’s death was as a result of the severe head, rib and leg injuries he had sustained.
He continued within his evidence to state that despite the best efforts of workers, there would be some children who die “at the hands of people who are supposed to give them love, care and attention”.
“[The] harsh reality of the business we are in, is that children will die,” he said.
Tony then added that of more than 2,500 child protection notifications in the past five years that CPS had received, there were two non-accidental deaths of infants that had occurred.
His statement to the inquest that it was not always possible to protect children.
“There’s this bizarre notion that you can manage risk away,” he said. “We know that the outcome for children in care is not good … but on the balance [it is] perhaps safer than the alternative.”
Baby Bjay died in November 2012, less than a month after a call to authorities from a woman who was very concerned about his welfare.
The inquiry is looking into events surrounding his death, including the Police and CPS processes, family history and abuse sustained.
His father Simon Johnstone has previously been convicted for abusing BJay, but he was convicted for the massive fatal injuries Bjay sustained. He has been named an official person of interest in Bjay’s death.
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