An eight year old child slipped through the cracks of help and was bashed to death with a steel vacuum cleaner pipe by her mother.
As the child lay dying she asked her mother for Panadol. When her mother refused, little Faith said, ‘Well could you at least say a prayer for me?’
Faith died later that day. She died in her room, in her mother’s unit, in a suburban area of Cairns.
My faith could die with this story too – my faith in a world that protects our children.
As tragic and upsetting (tears roll down my cheeks as I write this) as this story is, my faith will not die because I believe that we can have a world where we all look out for each other’s kids.
What are we doing wrong though? When did we stop caring for others? Why don’t we just start caring again?
We don’t change anything because we all think it is someone else’s responsibility. We think it is the government’s mandate to protect and to care. We fight over which party has the best policies. The truth is though that partisan policies did nothing for little Faith.
The death of a child is not about partisan politics. It is not about lack of funding, lack of staff, lack of communication or lack of resources.
It is about a lack of community. It is about us turning a blind eye and letting bad things happen. It is about us allowing the government to make decisions that we know are not in the best interest of our communities and families.
It is about us losing our community values and not valuing community development from a community level.
Child protection is everybody’s business – have we forgotten that too?
It has taken me days to write this because I have been so distressed over the details released with the coroner’s findings. The coroner did not blame the death on anyone but Faith’s mother. The coroner recognised the restraints placed on Government agencies. I feel so sad for the workers involved – they must be distraught and self-blaming….even though it was not their fault.
I have lost focus on other things I was doing this week because my shame at being a part of a community that allowed this to happen was so great. But, while this is of great concern, and incredibly tragic, it hinders my focus of ongoing community change and harm prevention.
Although I manage my shame and sadness, thoughts of Faith’s last pleas ruminate in my mind and try to tear me down to a state of inertia. But the law of inertia reminds me that an object at rest stays at rest.
Please don’t stay at rest any more. Embrace community and civic responsibilities. Look out for people and do things that say you care. Join a community group that replaces the roles that Government initially took away from families. Let’s strengthen families and community and take back our power so that we don’t need to rely on funding, human resources, etc.
Can you imagine a community that is self-sufficient – a community that looks after itself without reliance upon government staff to keep our kids safe? Can you imagine a community that has a triple bottom line to measure their success: is what we do good for people, good for the planet and lastly good for profit.
I belong to a community of people who put their money where their mouth is. Through the proceeds of the sale of personal development and leadership training information, we self-fund many community initiatives and projects. We are non-partisan and caring. We are a really decent bunch of people to hang around with – because we take responsibility and we really care about each other and the communities in which we live.
If only little Faith and her mentally unwell mother were part of our project. One day Faith, I will self-fund a service that can check on kids like you and your death will not have been for no reason.
Thank you to the many people involved in Faith’s short life. Special thanks to the teachers at her school who first reported the signs of abuse. Thank you for caring enough to do something.
Take the 90 day Mental Fitness Challenge and change your life.
When you change your life, you change the lives of those around you.