Child Safety Was Told Queensland Toddler Was In Danger Months Before His Death
Crucial information about toddler Mason Jet Lee's family was withheld from a Queensland social worker tasked with providing early intervention support.
The 21-month-year-old was struck in the abdomen by his mother's boyfriend, William O'Sullivan in June 2016 and died from sepsis.
The Mission Australia social worker, who cannot be named for legal reasons, began working with Mason's mother, Anne-Maree Lee, when the family was homeless in September 2015.
Lee had been known to child safety officers since 2005 following numerous domestic violence incidents involving drugs, the Brisbane Coroners Court heard.
By November 2015, the child safety department's concerns about Lee had increased to include her ongoing mental health issues and alcohol abuse.
She was also allegedly selling drugs from the home she shared with her children and police had been called following a domestic violence complaint against O'Sullivan.
But the social worker says she was never advised about the department's concerns despite being contracted to provide support services to the family.
"That's really concerning information. It would have helped me to have a much better idea of the family's history," she said from the witness box.
The silence continued when Mason was hospitalised with injuries his veteran doctor described as the worst he had seen in his 45-year career.
It was only after pediatricians raised their concerns and Mason's case was escalated to a Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect team in March 2016 that the social worker was alerted to the Lee family's situation.
She said doctors at the meeting advocated for Mason to be removed from his mother and O'Sullivan's care.
Despite this Mason was released from hospital into their care after child safety officers agreed to begin an intervention process.
However, his case was not allocated to a child safety officer before he died three months later on June 11.
The inquest will now continue via written submissions and answers due to the threat posed by the coronavirus.