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Statement by Deidre Mulkerin, Director-General, Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs

On behalf of the department, I acknowledge and accept the findings of the Public Service Commission review of investigations held into individual staff conduct arising from the tragic case of Mason Lee.

I would like to acknowledge Mason's death. We are deeply sorry that we did not meet Mason's needs and the quality of our work fell below the standards that we expect.

Since Mason's death in 2016, we have made extensive changes to the way we do things.

The government has also invested an extra $200 million to further strengthen the child protection system. These improvements include:

  • boosting funding for non-government services to at-risk families in high-need locations
  • legislating to strengthen information-sharing between agencies and help more children in care find “forever” homes
  • Increasing our frontline staff – funding 218 new child safety frontline and support positions, and
  • employing dedicated Child Safety Officers to work with Hospital and Health Services.

We also established a new Morayfield Child Safety Service Centre with 13 new positions to respond to a high-growth area.

Community based services have also expanded with:

  • a new Indigenous Family Wellbeing service at Morayfield
  • a First 1000 Days trial in the Moreton Bay area
  • targeted programs for young parenting mothers, and
  • an Assessment Service Connect team which will link families that have come to the attention of child safety to appropriate services.

We have also made changes to improve the training and supervision of staff. 

In June 2020, the Queensland Government accepted all six recommendations made by the Deputy State Coroner following the Inquest into Mason Lee's death.

Three of the six recommendations are completed and the balance are underway. We are actively reviewing the current plans for all children under 3 years old in our care to ensure they are in the best possible arrangements.

Since joining the department in February 2020, I have witnessed the dedication of our frontline child protection workers. I am determined to play my part in leading the child protection system throughout Queensland to support families and communities to keep children safe.

There is always more to learn in child protection and more to be done to keep children safe.

Mason, like all Queensland children, deserved to be safe and loved. Tragically, he wasn't. He will remain at the forefront of our minds as we continue to work hard to continuously improve, strengthen our systems and keep children safe.

Read more about the Queensland Government response to the death of Mason Lee.