TRAGEDY: Kaydence Dawita Mills was missing for almost four years before being found. Pic: Supplied.
TRAGEDY: Kaydence Dawita Mills was missing for almost four years before being found. Pic: Supplied.

Dad of missing toddler’s questions went unanswered for years

THE father of killed toddler Kaydence Dawita Mills, has revealed that his multiple reports made to Child safety between 2016 and 2019 with concern for his daughter's welfare had fallen on deaf ears.

Robert Mills' former partner and Kaydence's mother Sinitta Tammy Dawita, 28, and her partner Tane Saul Destage, 40, were charged with murder, torture and interfering with the toddler's corpse on Monday, March 2, after her remains were found in a shallow grave at the Chinchilla Weir.

Mr Mills claims his numerous complaints to Child safety about his daughter's safety and whereabouts from 2016 to last year weren't taken seriously because of his checkered history.

"Say you have a bit of a history with Child safety or going to jail, you've made some wrongs in your life, once you have that they don't take you seriously," Mr Mills said.

"They don't listen if a parent's got a bad record, if they make a complaint about the other parent, they just discard it because he's jealous or whatever, drugs, what history they've got - they discriminate and now look, a little girl's dead.

"They said ... 'once a child is back with their biological parent out of Child Safety's care, the department's care, we are not bound by any legal law to investigate unless there is significant concerns of harm or danger to the child's wellbeing'."

Mr Mills believes race may have played a role in Kaydence falling through cracks in the system.

"I think it was swept under the carpet ... because she's of Indigenous descent," Mr Mills said.

A Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women spokeswoman said the State Government department was unable to comment on Kaydence's case due to legislation within The Child Protection Act.

"The Child Protection Act prevents us from commenting about individual cases," the spokeswoman said.

"This case is also subject to a police investigation and is subject to court proceedings and as such it would be inappropriate to comment.

"The safety and wellbeing of all Queensland children is a top priority and we are continually working to ensure the state's child protection system is as strong as it can be."

Child Safety is legally required to conduct internal systems reviews when a child known to them dies, although the spokeswoman said from July 1 a new review system was created.

No longer the Child Death Case Review Panel, the spokeswoman said, "from 1 July, this (process) will be undertaken by the new independent Child Death Review Board located within the Queensland Family and Child Commission".

The spokeswoman said the new board had the authority to review past investigations.

The Chinchilla News contacted the review board and asked if Kaydence's case would be looked at to see if more could have been done to protect the child, and here's what a Child Death Review Board spokeswoman had to say:

"The Child Death Review Board conducts system reviews following the deaths of children known to the child protection system in Queensland," the spokeswoman said.

"The CDRB does not report on the identity of those children that are subject to system reviews.

"Recommendations derived from system reviews undertaken by the CDRB will be published through its annual report."

State parliament passed the new legislation so an independent body could review child deaths known to Child Safety, and also have the power to review external agencies such as health, education, community and justice services.

Kaydence body was found wrapped in a plastic bin bag and buried in a shallow, unmarked grave, almost four years after her father first raised concerns with the Department of Child Safety about her wellbeing and whereabouts.

Once detectives started looking for her in late 2019, it took five months to find the missing two-year-old's body.


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