All internal reviews conducted by Queensland Health and the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services relating to the tragic circumstances of the death of 21 month old Mason Jet Lee have been received by the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC). All agency reports of their internal reviews were received by the QFCC by mid January 2017. The QFCC is undertaking an independent consideration of these documents under our oversight provisions as set out under the Family and Child Commission Act 2014.
As Principal Commissioner of the Queensland Family and Child Commission I was requested, by the Premier, to undertake an overarching review of the departments’ actions and responses relating to Mason. I will brief both the Premier and Minister for Child Safety when our report is complete. Our review is proceeding according to timeframes and the final report is expected to be submitted in March 2017.
I understand and appreciate the distress felt by the Queensland community about Mason’s death. We all want justice for Mason Jet Lee but we must make sure that the desire for answers and information does not prejudice the outcome of the cases before the courts.
Mason deserves all our patience and respect to allow justice to take its course.
Terms of the QFCC’s review
The QFCC’s review will focus on whether the internal and external review processes of Queensland Health and the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (DCCSDS) were robust and whether the departments have conducted their reviews in a thorough manner to identify systemic issues. The QFCC is not focusing on the actions of individual Child Safety officers or Queensland Health staff, this will be separately addressed by the appropriate ethical standards unit if required.
The Terms of Reference for the QFCC’s review are:
- Review the legislation, governance frameworks and methodologies for agency reviews to ensure they are thorough, effective and impartial.
- Review the application of internal and external agency review processes for Mason Lee to ensure the review is prioritised.
- Review the information, findings and recommendations of individual agencies to provide oversight and identify trends and opportunities for whole-of-system recommendations, particularly those related to information sharing.