Errors that led to toddlers’ deaths


"They should have done much more."

That was the sentiment this week after two little girls, aged 1 and 2, died after they were pulled from a hot car south of Brisbane.

Many wondered how it was possible the child welfare system could let them down.

It could have been an accident, like the one that unfolded on Tuesday when a little girl was placed into an induced coma after being pulled "limp" from a hot car near Newcastle.

Natasha Gorjup climbed into the unlocked car to play without her parents noticing when temperatures in the Port Stephens area reached the mid-30s.

But the case in Logan was different because of the details that started to emerge after the horrific incident last Saturday, which saw Darcey-Helen and Chloe-Ann lifeless bodies carried from their home.

One-year-old Chloe-Ann, who died with her sister in a hot car last Saturday.
One-year-old Chloe-Ann, who died with her sister in a hot car last Saturday.


Darcey-Helen, 2, whose body was pulled from the car south of Brisbane.
Darcey-Helen, 2, whose body was pulled from the car south of Brisbane.

Friends and neighbours said welfare had been called "numerous times" before.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk admitted the family were known to the Department of Child Safety.

Her comments left many wondering how they system got it wrong and the biological father of one of the girl's demanding answers.

"I want a full public inquiry into the deaths of my girls," he told 7 News.

"I want to expose the truth. The community has a right to know."

Speaking to earlier this week, the girls' babysitter Gina Mckenzie said welfare could have "done so much more".

Hetty Johnston, founder of child safety advocacy group Bravehearts, also came out saying urgent action was required to fix a system that is "totally broken".

Ms Johnston claims there are more than 30 deaths of children who are known to the department every year.

She told 7 News government departments were chronically underfunded and unequipped to deal with the sheer number of child protection cases.

"We can't just keep saying, 'we can't talk about it, it's a matter before the courts or it's a child protection matter'," she said.

"We can't just wait for the next story to come and wait for this one to blow over.

"Clearly, we're not intervening when we should be."

Their mum Kerri-Ann has been charged with their murder.
Their mum Kerri-Ann has been charged with their murder.

She said government departments were "absolutely overwhelmed" by child protection cases.

"I'm not blaming the department and the people who took the calls. They get a million of those phone calls," she said.

"We have to respond. We need resources."

The girls' mother, Kerri-Ann Conley, faced court on Monday charged with two counts of murder and two drug charges.

Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath has asked Cheryl Vardon, the Queensland Family and Child Commission's principal commissioner, to investigate what happened.

Ms Palaszczuk said any recommendations that come of that investigation would be "absolutely" implemented.

Child Safety Minister Di Farmer said the death of any child was a tragedy, but offered no specifics on the family's contact with the department.

"If the department receives information that a child may be at risk, they assess and investigate that information," she said.

Family and friends of Ms Conley claim they made multiple attempts to alert the authorities to concerns they held for the two children.

"I know of four people that made reports to them and other agencies and nothing was done," a family member told The Courier Mail.

"(They) just got told they would look into it and do a property check of who lived there."

The girls' father spoke about how they were adored by everyone.

"Darcey and Chloe were loved by anyone and everyone who met them. I absolutely adored them both," he told the newspaper earlier this week.

"Darcey had a contagious laugh and Chloe really, although they were 12 months apart, wasn't really that far behind Darcey. I think she learnt a lot off Darcey, mannerisms.

"They were just two peas in a pod."

Ms Conley was remanded in custody to appear in Beenleigh Magistrates Court on December 11.

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