Questions raised about how Rick Thorburn was approved as a foster carer

Rick Thorburn had been jailed before and has a criminal history, but still managed to get approved as a foster carer before he murdered foster daughter Tialeigh Palmer.

Despite having three pages of criminal history, Thorburn was an passed a working with children check, receiving what is known as a Blue Card in Queensland.

Thorburn never had any convictions for child-related sex offences, exploitation offences or murder.

Anyone with these convictions can not receive a Blue Card.

But applicants can be approved despite other charges, even if they have served jail time.

Rick Thorburn was approved as a foster carer despite a number of criminal charges before he murdered Tialeigh Palmer. Source: AAP

Hetty Johnston, the founder of child protection organisation Bravehearts, admitted there are “some gaps” in the system “to allow people that shouldn’t be given a blue card to actually get one”. 

“If Rick Thorburn never had a Blue Card, if he wasn’t able to work with children, we wouldn’t be in this situation,” she said. 

Minister for Child Safety Di Farmer said there was nothing anyone knew about Thorburn that could have predicted he would go on to murder Tialeigh.

A report recommends more crimes should disqualify people from holding Blue Cards but 10 months on from its release the Queensland Government is yet to change the criteria or say when it will. 

Tialeigh Palmer was murdered by her foster father. Source: 7News

Ms Farmer said the government was “setting about implementing” the changes.

While the case is closed, 7News understands Tialeigh’s death is set to undergo a coronial inquest because the 12-year-old was in state care.

It’s at this point, which doesn’t have a date set, the coroner can look at the Blue Card, the Department of Child Safety and the foster care system.