Family forced through 'hoop after hoop' over boy's care

The parents of a 10-year-old boy who took his own life in state care were made to jump through "hoop after hoop" in their failed bid to be reunited, an advocate says.

The child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, died on Friday night in Perth while under the care of the Department of Communities.

WA Premier Roger Cook said the death was concerning and a tragedy and he would support expediting the coronial inquest.

Indigenous advocate Megan Krakouer
Advocate Megan Krakouer says the Department of Communities has failed the family.

National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project director Megan Krakouer said the boy was removed from his parents' care four days before Christmas in 2020 when they were living in a tent.

She said they had created a stable home in the years since and were working with the department in an attempt to reunite their family but it had been unsupportive and judgemental.

"Their hearts are broken," she told AAP on Thursday.

"They are good people, respectful people, loving people."

Ms Krakouer, who is acting for the parents, said they felt there had been an incredible power imbalance and the department had ignored them as they attempted to reunite their family.

"They made them jump through hoop after hoop after hoop," she said.

"Some of the words they used were 'grooming' and 'manipulation' and they also said ... they were being looked down upon."

Ms Krakouer said the first time the boy's parents had been permitted to see him as a couple since he was removed from their care was at a morgue.

She said the department had failed the family.

 "Twenty-six case managers over four years and there was not even a cultural safety plan," she said.

Mr Cook said the boy's death was "very sad" and had left him with "cause for reflection".

"It's always horrible when you see a young child resort to what must be the most desperate act, which is the act of taking one's own life," he said.

"(It) makes you wonder what else we can do to make sure that we keep young people safe."

The Department of Communities said it could not comment on individual cases.

"The death of any child or young person is a tragedy which has a devastating impact on the families, friends and communities involved," a spokesman said.

"Any death of a child in care automatically triggers a coronial inquest and we support all matters of this nature being investigated."

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said it was "impossible not to be moved by" the boy's death and it was a "tragic circumstance".

Richard Marles
Richard Marles says the death of a 10-year-old boy under WA government care is a tragedy.

"It certainly does speak to the fact that we have enormous challenges going forward in relation to closing the gap," he told ABC TV.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney said the death was "shocking, heartbreaking and demands deep reflection".

"My heart goes out to the family and community in WA that has lost a son so young," she posted on X.

Senator Lidia Thorpe called on the federal government to implement the recommendations of the 1997 Bringing Them Home report.

“Minister Burney and the Prime Minister are failing to protect First Nations children," she said.

"They should be deeply ashamed of the news of this young boy's death."

WA Liberal leader Libby Mettam said the department was under-resourced and allegations the boy had 26 caseworkers in just over three years were disturbing.

"Quite clearly this is a department in crisis," she said.

Lifeline 13 11 14

beyondblue 1300 22 4636

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.


Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
AU$10
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
AU$5
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
AU$99
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

SEVEN DAYS FREE
Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store