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Fostered boy case "tragic"

Monday, 8th April, 2013

By Kurtis J Eichler

The Aboriginal Legal Service says the case of a Broken Hill indigenous boy who has been put in 27 different foster homes showed that State care needs improving.

The boy, who can't be named because he is under 18, appeared before the Wagga Wagga Children's Court last week after he breached bail on charges of assault and property damage.

His lawyer asked the court to take into account the boys tumultuous history which included the recent death of a sibling, alcohol abuse and domestic violence.

Chief Legal Officer for the ALS, John McKenzie, summed up the case as "tragic".

"Just those bare facts of 27 placements and being so far away in Wagga suggests to me that the importance of a cultural connection for this young boy to his Aboriginal family and broader kinship groups hasn't been addressed well enough," Mr McKenzie said.

"He may not be yet, but he's on the path to being a ward of the State."

The boy is now in the care of the Department of Family and Community Services.

A department spokesman said it would not comment on the matter as it was still before the court.

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