UPDATE 3.20pm Minister for Child Protection Robyn McSweeney is under pressure to reveal any history of abuse of a 20-month-old girl who remains on life support after receiving critical head injuries while in foster care.
The toddler was taken to Kalgoorlie Hospital on Thursday and later transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital, where police today said her condition remained the same.
Opposition child protection spokeswoman Sue Ellery demanded an immediate investigation and that Ms McSweeney reveal details of the child’s placement leading up to Thursday’s incident.
“The Minister could answer now whether this child had been previously either injured or abused while in the care of the department, and that would not jeopardise any of the investigation by the police into what happened on the day of this most recent and horrific injury,” Ms Ellery said.
“There’s no reason why information about the assessment of this placement, and the history of the baby and connection with the Department of Child Protection, couldn’t be released now.”
Ms Ellery’s comments came after it emerged the girl had been in foster care with relatives and might have been subjected to a previous assault in which her hands and feet were bound.
The foster carers may also have been known by police prior to the girl being placed with them.
Police believe the toddler was brutally bashed again this week but have released no further details pending their investigation.
“This is a shocking case,” Ms Ellery said.
“The fact that a 20-month-old had already been removed from its parents tells us something had gone terribly wrong very early in this baby’s life.
“However, once in care, the State has an obligation to keep that child safe.”
Ms Ellery released figures showing the Kalgoorlie district office responsible for the girl had a wait-list of 108 cases that had not yet been assigned case workers.
“When you under-resource child protection the consequences can be catastrophic and tragic,” she said.
No arrests or charges have been made as the police investigation continues.
Comment is being sought from Ms McSweeney.