Monday, October 22, 2007

Is DOCS failing us all?

There is never going to be an acceptable or adequate explanation for why Dean Shillingsworth is dead. Despite the fact that the Department of Community Services had been contacted over concerns for his wellbeing, there was no adequate to prevent his death. Now there is never going to be a perfect system, and there may always be some cases that are not caught in time. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be asking questions about the procedures and competencies at the Department of Community Services. If there are any calls for help that are going unanswered, then the system is failing all of us. And while many people have very strong feelings about how the mother should be dealt with, that is not the answer either. The angry crowd that called for her to be drowned in the lake represents the feelings of many in the community. But those feelings are misguided. There has been no evidence yet put before a court, no conviction or acquittal yet recorded. It achieves nothing to indulge mob mentality. What might achieve something is a thorough review of the question of why the Department of Community Services is apparently unable to respond effectively to the 240 000 calls for help it receives each year.

What do you think? Is the Department of Community Services to blame for not intervening?

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