Australia probes how girl, 12, fell pregnant in care

The girl was under the care of the state when she conceived.

Last Updated: Apr 13, 2011, 13:45 PM IST

Melbourne: Authorities have launched an investigation into how an Australian girl fell pregnant aged 12 while reportedly under the care of the state, officials said on Wednesday.

The Victorian state government was unable to confirm reports that the girl, now aged 13, was under the care of the Department of Human Services when she conceived, but said it was looking into it.

"I can`t discuss any previous history in relation to this case because it could lead to the identity of the child, and we`re very focused on the best interests of the child," Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge said.

Wooldridge said the girl, whose situation is also being investigated by police, was now living with her family and newborn baby.

"There are family supporting the young mum to be effective in the parenting role. But it is incredibly challenging as it is for anyone when you`re 13 to try and deal with the challenges of motherhood," she told ABC radio.

Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu said all support necessary would be provided to the young mother, who apparently became pregnant while living at a residential centre run by a community services group.

"There has been a failure of the system... and the question now is was the response appropriate," he said.

Earlier this year, two Victorian carers were stood down for leaving a nine-year-old boy in a park at night for at least two hours.

"There are lots of cases where the system fails but I`m not going to just use two cases that have been made public, but if there is a systematic failure it must be addressed," Baillieu said.

Bureau Report