A man and a woman have been charged after a severely malnourished girl was found at their home in New South Wales.

On Saturday 12 December 2015, a member of the public contacted police with concerns for the welfare of a young girl.

When police arrived at the Nowra property, they found the four-year-old in an emaciated state. The girl was rushed to hospital where she received treatment for severe malnutrition.

A 25-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man were both arrested on December 31 and charged with failure to provide for a child.

The girl and her one-year-old sister have been removed from the couple’s care.

Causes of Hunger and Malnutrition

People who don’t get enough food often experience hunger, and over the long term this can lead to malnutrition. But someone can become malnourished for reasons that have nothing to do with hunger. Even people who have plenty to eat may be malnourished if they don’t eat foods that provide the right nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

Malnutrition affects people of every age, although infants, children, and teens may suffer the most because many nutrients are critical for normal growth and development

Symptoms and Effects of Malnutrition

Malnutrition harms both the body and the mind. The more malnourished someone is — in other words, the more nutrients that are missing — the more likely he or she is to have problems.

The signs and symptoms of malnutrition depend on which nutritional deficiencies a person has, although they can include:
•fatigue (tiredness) and low energy
•poor immune function (which can harm the body’s ability to fight off infections)
•dry, scaly skin
•swollen and bleeding gums
•decaying teeth
•slowed reaction times and trouble paying attention
•poor growth
•muscle weakness
•bloated stomach
•osteoporosis, or fragile bones that break easily
•problems with organ function
•problems learning

Treating Malnourished Children

Fortunately, many of the harmful effects of malnutrition can be reversed, especially if a child is only mildly or briefly malnourished.

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  • That poor little darling. I hope she is doing much better now.


  • Its terrible to think this can happen in Australia. I’m so glad the children have been rescued and cared for. I do hope they find a good home full of love and laughter.


  • So horrible to hear these sorts of stories. Hopefully this one will have a happy ending for both kids.


  • Thankfully the children were found in time.


  • Luckily the girl was found in time! I hope she will recover soon.


  • There are definitely times when people need to be put through an extensive course to be able to become parents and this is one of them


  • This is so disgusting! It is sickening! Those poor innocent little darlings!


  • I often wonder God allows some people to be fertile. People like this don’t deserve to be responsible for little people. So shameful. I hope they never go back to them. They will know the truth when they grow up. I pray they go to a good home with people who demonstrate real care and love for them.


  • This just absolutely breaks my heart and hurts me so much to hear. How and why could anyone do this to a child? I will never understand. Thank God both children have been removed.


  • It’s a pity the children can’t be adopted by a couple as they should never be returned to their parents. Unfortunately unless the law has changed one parent has to sign legal papers for a child to be adopted by somebody else. I hope they don’t keep moving them from place to place or the emotional damage will take a huge toll on both of the children. Hopefully they won’t be separated either. Parents who do that to their children should be put in gaol and the key lost permanently. If they have another child in the meantime it should be removed from their care at birth. Parents hard labour, no priviledges at all, no parole or early release for good behaviour.


  • Cannot believe that anyone would do this to children – thank heavens for the observant neighbours and hopefully these two children can be placed into a loving home where this will never happen again.


  • Lucky the neighbour was so observant. Glad that both children were taken away and are now being given the care they need.


  • so lucky she had caring neighbours, my hat goes off to them.


  • No excuse for this occurring to any child in Australia.


  • Thank God these poor little kids were found and taken to a better place. The adults should never be aloud to have any kids ever again at least the kids would of had a good Christmas


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