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MEDIA RELEASE 14 APRIL 2008

CRISIS IN RESPITE CARE

ROGER LAW,  Secretary of ATAC, (Action For Tasmanian Autistic Children) said today that the suspended sentence for Steven Keogh, the carer, who was convicted for assaulting intellectually disabled people at the Lutana Respite Centre, has deeply angered parents of intellectually disabled children

"Our children often cannot speak and defend themselves and this means that parents must be able to trust the people who are entrusted with their care,"  one mother said. "Sentences like this are no deterrent, and leave us wondering if society places any value on the safety of our children."

Mr Law said there was now deep unease in the community about whether it was safe to put children into the Respite Centre at all

"Respite is the only service that Disability Services offers to the parents of intellectually disabled children, and now many  parents are concerned about the safety of their children if they are cared for at Lutana."

Mr Law said that parents are concerned that the decent carers who stood up for their clients no longer work at the Respite Centre.  They are also concerned that the carer found guilty of assault has a close relationship with a senior manager at the centre.  These facts, coupled with the previously reported incidents in group homes when they were under the control of Disability Services, has caused deep concern

Mr Law said that respite was such an important service for families who look after some to the State's most disabled children that the extra stress caused by the fear that their children might be harmed at the respite centre must be cleared up immediately.

Mr Law said the interim report handed down by the Commissioner for Children as a result of his inquiry into children in care at the centre must be released publicly by the MInister for Health.  He said that at a recent report back meeting on the Review into Disability Services by Peat Marwick, it was indicated that the Review would recommend that the care of all children should placed under Child and Family Services.  Mr Law said that the Minister for Health should act on this recommendation immediately.

"

 

ROGER CAN BE CONTACTED ON 03 6286 1316
or mob. 0400271500

 

Email address:mail@atac.asn.au
atactas@google.com

 

A.T.A.C's web site: http://www.atac.asn.au/
OR
http://www.melbarant.com/atac/

 

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