DOCS knew about teens’ horrendous existence

 

TWO autistic teenage brothers found naked and locked in a bedroom were ignored by authorities despite living in appalling and squalid conditions at their father's home for years, neighbours claim.

The boys, aged 17 and 19, were known to the Department of Child Safety (DOCS) and were visited before the case was closed.

The pair, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were only discovered when police conducted a welfare check at the Stafford home on Wednesday and found their father, 49, dead from a heart attack.

The boys were found locked in a room, naked and living in their own filth.

Two boys who were found locked in a room at a Stafford house. Picture: Supplied
Two boys who were found locked in a room at a Stafford house. Picture: Supplied

The Courier-Mail has seen footage and photographs of the boys wearing only nappies, playing in a locked room with nothing but a mattress on the floor over a number of years.

The horrific ordeal has distressed first responders and residents and questions have been raised as to why the children were in the house and were not getting greater care.

The children are non-verbal and are not toilet trained. A support person going to the house contacted police who found the man and the two teens locked in a room.

It is understood the father's health had deteriorated over the past month.

The Courier-Mail has been told DOCS had previously been involved with the family, but closed their case. It is unclear what prompted DOCS involvement in the first place.

They had conducted visits but had apparently not found threats to the children before closing the case last year.

The boys’ circumstances was allegedly known to authorities. Picture: Supplied
The boys’ circumstances was allegedly known to authorities. Picture: Supplied

A neighbour described living conditions in the home as "sordid and gravely distressing". She claimed her concerns had fallen on deaf ears and when she contacted child protection services with footage, she was told the files were "too large to send so nothing was able to be done".

"I tried to reach out to police and the Department of Child Safety, but nothing was ever done," she said.

"They wouldn't be wearing clothes, only just loaded diapers if they were lucky.

"You would sometimes look over and see them playing with their own faeces and pushing it through the mozzie screens."

The two boys are now being cared for at the Prince Charles Hospital, with no update on their condition being given by authorities.

The neighbour said she cared for the boys on occasion and fell in love with their "beautiful" personalities.

"They were lovely. I fell in love with them," she said.

"They wouldn't hurt a fly - they were beautiful kids.

The house where the two teens were found. Picture: Annette Dew
The house where the two teens were found. Picture: Annette Dew

"(One of the boys) used to whistle because he imitates sounds. I used to whistle out to them and we used to play them music because they would get upset and anxious."

The Courier-Mail has been told the support person went to the house almost daily and reported that the man was feeding and bathing the children, who had complex needs.

It is understood he locked them in the room while he slept and believed it was for their own safety.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles would not be drawn on details of the case and said the investigation had to play out.

"Obviously just based on what I've seen in the media reports this is particularly tragic, heart-wrenching and no doubt will be investigated in detail, both the Child Safety response as well as what's happened here and I'll let those processes play out," he said.

In a statement, Queensland Police Service said detectives were working to piece together what happened to the boys.

A toy truck lays abandoned at the house where two teens were found locked in a room. Picture: Annette Dew
A toy truck lays abandoned at the house where two teens were found locked in a room. Picture: Annette Dew

"Detectives from Boondall Child Protection Investigation Unit along with other government agencies are working together around the circumstances surrounding the care of two teenage boys with special needs discovered when emergency services attended a Stafford house yesterday," the statement read.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women refused to comment on any aspect of the case.

"The Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women is guided by the Child Protection Act which has as its paramount principle the protection of children - which includes their identity," the spokeswoman said.

"The strict provisions of this Act make it illegal to disclose publicly whether an individual or family is known or not known to the department."

Originally published as DOCS knew about teens' horrendous existence



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