Media Releases - 17 December 2018

Response to Coronial findings on the death of Rhiannon Pitchford

I was saddened to read the Coroner’s Findings into the death of baby Rhiannon in 2014. Every baby has the right to the best possible start in life, to grow up in a safe and healthy environment and to receive the help and protection they need to thrive.

Coroner McTaggart has noted the systemic changes being implemented throughout Tasmania’s child protection system.

A number of recommendations to further strengthen the systems to ensure the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable children have also been made.

I will be seeking a more detailed briefing from Children and Youth Services about progress to implement the recommendations from their internal review processes and about the Department’s response to the Coroner’s Findings and recommendations.

It is important to note that the Department of Communities has acknowledged that mistakes were made.

There is a need now, to learn from these mistakes, improve our collective efforts and improve responses to vulnerable children, especially babies and infants, to reduce the likelihood of such a tragic event occurring again.

I extend my deepest condolences to all those affected by baby Rhiannon’s death.

Leanne McLean
Commissioner for Children and Young People