Mum’s harrowing tale as teen caught in gang spiral
A Logan mother has slammed the youth justice system and has called for a methadone clinic in the heart of a business centre to be moved, after her teen son ran away from home and joined a southside gang.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, wants the drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre moved away from Beenleigh schools.
However, she said she realised she was fighting a losing battle with the youth justice system, after her son ran away about 18 months ago, when he was still 15.
She said her son was going to a local high school when he met some teens who were living together in a house at Edens Landing, near Beenleigh.
The mother said her son was in year 9 and age 15, when a teen from the school started calling him late at night and asking for help and to meet up.
She said within months, her son had run away and was living in a house with a woman and other young boys who were not going to school.
The boy's mother said it was her belief her son had signed up to Centrelink and was handing over his payments to the woman.
The distraught mother said her son had since dropped out of school and "disappeared off the face of the earth".
She said a methadone clinic in the heart of Beenleigh, within walking distance to three schools, had not helped and had attracted drug addicts and their families into the area.
"Children of drug addicts go to school with our children and our children are then subjected to drug use, bullying, crime, alcohol, a completely different way of living, where they can do whatever they want, whenever they want and with very little repercussions," the mother said.
"The government has taken rights away from police to enforce appropriate action and consequences, from schools, from good parents who are trying to do the right thing by their children."
Owners of the drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinic Pharmaceutical Rehabilitation Services (PRS) Beenleigh, said previously that the clinic was in the best possible location to cater for people from the entire region.
Pharmaceutical Rehabilitation Services owner Lachlan Foord said he and his business partner Andrew Pfeffer had invested more than $300,000 in the fit-out of the clinic.
"This is the best location for our clients because it's close to public transport and is convenient," Mr Foord said.
"It's not a viable business proposition to move now.
"Apart from some neighbouring businesses and a vocal minority, we have had no complaints from the area and have received support from schools and churches and no complaint from the local sport club."
The clinic meets all Queensland Health regulations for a health care service and pharmacy and complies with all Logan City Council planning requirements for the area.
The mother took her plight to the Logan Ratepayers Association as a last resort but was unsuccessful in any attempt to have the clinic moved.
She said she tried to locate her son but when she took her case to the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women, she was met with bureaucratic red tape and told as he was now over 16, he legally did not need to disclose his whereabouts.
"No one will help me to find him because he is now able to make legal choices at 17 but that is regardless of the fact that these choices mean he no longer has an education and has become addicted to drugs and is committing youth crimes," his mother said.
"He lives in a house where he is being completely neglected and abused.
"I have rung Centrelink and they said due to the legislation they cannot cut off his money but I do not know how this woman legally can receive payments for my son when she has no legal guardianship or custody.
"My son's braces were removed with pliers because the woman would not take him to his orthodontic appointments that were already prepaid and at a nearby dentist.
"I have worked hard to keep my son safe from things I didn't ever want him exposed to.
"My son was enrolled to attend a trade school this year however he never got there because he became involved in the wrong crowd at school _ a crowd that is connected to drug use."
She filed a missing persons report with police in Beenleigh this year before her son turned 17 and said the woman took the teen to the police station where he told officers he was safe, and police dismissed the missing person's report.
The teen's former high school also appointed its social worker to connect with her son who told the case worker he wanted help with drug rehabilitation.
The mother said the social worker planned three separate meetings but the teen failed to show and refused to tell where he was living.
The matter came to a head recently, when the boy was taken to hospital for treatment to his foot and leg after serious injuries when he crashed a motorcycle allegedly during an early morning police chase.
The mother was notified her son was admitted to Logan Hospital when she got a call from Crestmead police officer sergeant Scott McCulloch, who told her the teen had been riding a 250cc dirt bike down the main road in Beenleigh.
He hit a kerb and was thrown into the air, before landing on the wrong side of the road, in front of a car with the motorbike crashing down on top of him.
His right foot had a huge cut, a leg was fractured, he had broken toes and was covered in bruises and abrasions.
Police said he had not been wearing any protective clothing except for a helmet.
The mother said when she arrived at the hospital she found her name had been removed from her son's medical file.
"The women on the front desk had to ask him for permission before I could even enter the emergency room to see my own son," the mother said.
"I was allowed to enter, where I found a child I didn't even recognise as he was extremely underweight and extremely malnourished, confused, disoriented, and unaware of the seriousness of his condition.
"His braces had been removed, he advised me they were cut off with pliers by the woman who he is living with.
"He said he can't remember the last time he ate. He was very agitated and in a lot of pain.
"He wanted to leave before even having surgery. He had no concept of the condition he was in."
While the mother was in the emergency ward with her son, the woman who claimed to be his carer arrived.
Hospital staff were informed after the two women exchanged angry words and the staff asked the second woman to leave.
Since he was discharged from hospital the mother has not been able to contact her son.
"Police said there is nothing they can do. The hospital said there's nothing they can do. No one seems to be able to do anything.
"So now I wait for that dreaded phone call to tell me about my son's potential death.
"The system has failed me as a parent and it's failed my son."
A spokesman from the Department of Child Safety said the department was aware of the situation but was unable to comment on individual cases.
"Nor is the Department able to intervene when young Queenslanders aged 16 years and over are living away from home in a safe and independent environment," the department said.
"A Family and Child Connect service operates in the Beenleigh area.
"Youth support services are also available in that area and are targeted at young Queenslanders aged up to 21 years.
"These services support young Queenslanders with education, training and employment opportunities and to re-engage with family and other support networks.
"Youth support services also assist, where required, with referrals to experts specialising in drug and financial difficulties."