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.

Image Source: Getty Images


  • My step children are in danger with their mother, it took around 4 years for CPS to even look at her, even with assault charges laid against her by her son, reported to the school officials, all did nothing. 85 days absent from school and requests she be psychologically tested by lawyers and barristers and nothing done but a bit of counseling and signed off. Two nights ago she had a brawl with a friend or family member in the street that ended with a car being smashed up and set on fire, still nothing. My step children are doomed, even though we have legal right to see the kids she is denying all visitation and contact. Their lives are screwed, something seriously needs to be done with this system


  • It’s hard to get to every child in crisis.


  • The system needs to be changed to actually protect more of these children. I understand resources are limited but too many children slip through the cracks or are returned to unsafe environments. Speaking from experience as a foster carer – please give these children a chance and stop giving the families that hurt them chance after chance until it is too late and the child is killed


  • it is so true – extremely sad, but alas true


  • oh that is sad. i think that this stuff should be preventable. find out exactly who you are handing children too!


  • It’s terrible that the people you should trust more, are actually the ones that could hurt you more! :-(


  • RIP little Bjay x


  • I don’t agree- I think it is a funding choice.

    • Yes, they don’t give the Dept. enough funds to employ more staff. They get more reports than they can handle. How do they know which cases to give top priority to??


  • Lke mj


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