'Let down' after daughter's suicide
WHEN Department of Communities director-general Linda Apelt walked into Cindy McNulty’s Maryborough house yesterday she expected an apology and the answers to why her daughter Felicia committed suicide in 2009.
But Ms McNulty said the visit was another disappointment, after years of being let-down by authorities who were supposed to help.
Felicia Goodson’s suicide prompted a series of investigations into whether child safety authorities failed to act on allegations of sexual abuse.
“I didn’t get the reports into Felicia’s death or any more information,” Ms McNulty said.
“I wanted an apology, and they said they were sorry for what happened, but it sounded like they were just sorry we know the department hasn’t done the right thing.”
Felicia Goodson hanged herself the day after her 16th birthday, after being told she could not go into foster care despite claims she was being molested while living at home.
Just weeks earlier, Felicia’s friend Zoe Gough, a mum-of-two at 16 with a history of depression and self-harm, also took her own life while under the watch of the child safety department.
Ms Apelt also travelled to Gladstone yesterday to meet with Zoe’s mum Tracey-Lee McSweeney, who is calling for a public inquest into her daughter’s suicide.
Both deaths have been examined in three secret reports, which Child Safety Mnister Phil Reeves has refused to release despite growing political pressure.
Ms McNulty said she was not informed about the investigations into the girls’ deaths, and she only found out last week that Felicia had marijuana and anti-depressants in her blood when she died.
“Child safety department representatives told me I will never get all the answers,” she said.
“They wouldn’t have even been up here to visit me if it hadn’t been for the story being in the newspapers.”
Ms McNulty said she was told yesterday that two people who worked on Felicia’s case at the child safety department had been sacked and another two had been moved to different jobs.
But Mr Reeves and Ms Apelt have both said no comment could be made on the case due to privacy reasons.
“I want them to release all the files, I have nothing to hide,” she said. “I went in there begging for them to help me, and they didn’t.
She said she still owed $6000 for Felicia’s funeral, but when it was paid off she would put a family photo onto her daughter’s gravestone to remind them of the good times.
“My younger daughter goes out every night and says ‘goodnight Felicia, I love you,’ and looks at the stars. This has destroyed our family,” Ms McNulty said. It’s too late for them to say they’re sorry now, it won’t bring her back.”
Any teenagers feeling depressed can phone headspace on 4121 3788 or people of any age can phone Lifeline on 131 114.