Death of Yeppoon baby sparked Sunday's walk
FOUR months after a six-month Yeppoon boy died, the community is no closer to answers as to why or how.
The death sparked former Rockhampton woman Nikkii Joyce, who has been a foster carer, to take action - setting up Walk for Mason Rockhampton to be held tomorrow.
Ms Joyce has worked as a journalist reporting on children in the welfare system and currently works for emergency services in south-east Queensland.
She is also a Pyjama Angel.
"The Pyjama Foundation for me in my role is about giving kids in the child welfare system an additional positive role model and influence in their life to whom they can rely on and come to for support. So the children can still be with their parents or in care with family or foster carers," Ms Joyce said.
The Walk for Mason Rockhampton event is being supported by Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig, Cr Jan Kelly and Keppel MP Brittany Lauga.
Walk for Mason Rockhampton
A 4km walk on Sunday that will start at Alf Kele Memorial Park at 10am and cross over Rockhampton's iconic Fitzroy River. The event concludes back at the park with a free sausage sizzle and a special performance by a central Queensland legend. Register attendance online for your chance to win a special prize. www.facebook.com/actformason/
"If we are going to make a difference long-term in relation to child protection and domestic violence there needs to be greater levels of community awareness and support for affected families as well as a focus driving generational attitude change," Mayor Ludwig said.
He will perform an original song Take A Stand for the little boy his community lost and for those still at risk.
Last month, Act for Mason met with key community members working in child safety. Alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence and poverty/disadvantage were identified as the big three factors putting children at risk.
Shadow child safety spokeswoman Ros Bates said the death of Mason Lee, of Caboolture, uncovered the disarray in the child safety system.
"Tragically in March this year a six-month old baby died at Yeppoon after being missed by child safety officers despite concerns being raised in January," Ms Bates said.
"His death occurred while waiting in an investigation backlog at the Rockhampton child safety service centre."
She said in October last year more than 65 cases were closed in Rockhampton - 23 of which were confirmed cases of abuse, the highest in the region.
"Rockhampton is in a worse state than Caboolture and staff are stretched to the limit," Ms Bates said.
"The crisis and growing backlogs engulfing child safety investigations are nothing short of a scandal."
Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman said like all Queenslanders, she wants to see justice for Mason Lee.
"I will not jeopardise matters before the court by commenting on the specifics of his case," Ms Fentiman said.
The comments from the Opposition are disappointing given that the most recent data shows we are tracking in the right direction in the central Queensland region, despite an increase in calls and notifications.
"We expect to see continued improvement as 129 new child safety workers hit the ground, including 11 new child safety staff in the central Queensland region, including seven in Rockhampton alone," she said.