Grandmother of boy in suitcase repeatedly warned police
Posted Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:17pm AEST
Dean Shillingsworth's grandmother says she has been hounding police about his care for months.
The grandmother of the boy found dead inside a suitcase at Ambarvale in Sydney's south-west last week, says she had repeatedly contacted police about his wellbeing.
Ann Coffey was the legal guardian of Dean Shillingsworth and says she allowed her grandson to have a brief holiday with his mother but he was never returned.
She says she has been hounding police about his care for months.
"She was supposed to bring him back on the 8th of July and she never brought him back," she said.
"And I've been waiting at the police station, at the railway station and she never brought Dean back, and I've been going to the police station down Mt Druitt. "They reckon they rang Campbelltown police station to go out and do a check and I don't know if they did it or not."
Ms Coffey's comments come as the New South Wales Opposition scrutinises the State Government and Department of Community Services (DOCS) over a lacklustre introduction of child protection measures which has seen only one parent responsibility contract signed.
Community Services Minister Kevin Greene has admitted his department receives more than 280,000 calls about children every year and that the DOCS knew about Dean Shillingsworth.
Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell says with so many calls, the State Government is clearly not producing what it had promised. "These contracts according to the State Government's claims before the election campaign, were meant to ensure that parents who were either neglecting or abusing their children, were put on very tight reins and if they failed to meet those criteria further action should be taken," he said.
"Every year that the Ombudsman produces a report into reviewable child deaths, this State Government has claimed that it's acting upon those reports, and yet every year we continue to see cases like this."
The last Ombudsman's report detailed the deaths of 109 children whose families were known to DOCS.