Baby boy in Child Safety "backlog" before death

10th March 2017 6:00 AM

A BABY boy has died in Yeppoon, despite child safety being told months ago that there were concerns for its welfare.

The six-month-old died in Rockhampton hospital on Monday, almost three months after the Child Safety department was warned the baby's home was potentially dangerous, the Courier-Mail reports.

Action on the case may have been delayed due to a department "backlog".

The father of the baby allegedly said the child was hurt when the dad tripped and fell down the stairs while carrying the tot.

It is understood police visited the Yeppoon home in January after concerns were raised about the welfare of the three children in the home.

The protection of Queensland's most vulnerable has come into sharp focus after the shock deaths of Mason Jett Lee in Caboolture and Tiahleigh Palmer in Logan over the past 18 months.

The deaths prompted a suite of reviews of the Child Safety Department - the largest of its kind in years.

Investigations have already uncovered problems with staff training, case supervision and workers battling to deal with complicated cases.

Data from the Premier's office shows at least nine children through 2015 and 2016 died from "fatal assault or neglect" according to the most recent data.

Four of the children who died of fatal assault or neglect were known to the child protection system in the 12 months prior to their death.

Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman told the Courier-Mail the department was contacted about the family in January.

"I am deeply saddened to hear of the tragic death of this little boy and send my thoughts and sympathies to his family," she said.

"A preliminary investigation included working with police who conducted a welfare check and discussions with the family's childcare provider.

"At that time, there were no concerns about safety.

"We will continue to work closely with the police as they continue their investigation."

Shadow Minister for Child Safety Ros Bates told the Courier-Mail she was shocked to learn the boy died while waiting in a backlog.

"The crisis and growing backlogs engulfing child safety investigations are nothing short of scandalous."

She called on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to sack Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman.

"Annastacia Palaszczuk continues to support a bumbling Minister who is putting kids' lives at risk by failing to fix this crisis.

"We need to overhaul the way we do child abuse investigations in Queensland if we are to fix the backlog crisis."