Grandmother fears for drug addict’s children
THE grandmother of two youngsters found in a public toilet cubicle with their mother as she injected herself with drugs, says she can't understand why authorities have allowed her to keep the children.
The woman, who cannot be named, said she knew her son's partner had a drug problem but never realised how bad it was until she heard about the toilet incident.
The 33-year-old Burnside mother was fined $400 when she appeared in Maroochydore Magistrates Court last week on drugs charges.
Police said they found the woman sitting on the tiled floor of the Maroochydore public toilet, preparing to inject herself with the baby on her lap and her toddler nearby. Her partner's mother said while the priority was getting the woman professional help, she was concerned nothing had been done to protect the children.
"Someone has to step in and look after them," she said.
"Their mother is sick and not capable of making decisions but the little ones have been left in her care.
"We want help for her. We love her and she's had a very sad life but these poor little kids are both under three.
"I know DOCS (Department of Community Services) gets slammed when they take kids off their mothers but I don't know how safe the kids will be with her."
The grandmother said she had cared for the children in the past when their mother had disappeared for weeks at a time but that didn't seem to carry any weight with authorities.
She knew there were many other grandparents in the community facing a similar struggle.
"It's not just happening to me. I know there are other people stuck in similar situations.
"Grandparents should have rights in situations like this - particularly when they have already spent so much time caring for the youngsters.
"It hurts to go to bed and cry yourself to sleep because you are just so worried about the kids."
When the children's mother faced court last week, acting magistrate Peter Hasted noted she had strong family support in the courtroom.
A spokesman for Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services said he could not comment on specific cases.
"Generally speaking, if the department is notified of any instances of children who are at risk of abuse or neglect we may work with the Queensland Police Service to investigate the circumstances and make certain any children involved are safe and protected," he said in a statement.
"Any concerns received about children and young people are taken very seriously by the department and are assessed in accordance with the department's obligations under the Child Protection Act 1999 and a decision is made to determine what action, if any, is necessary."