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ABC News

Grant Stevens cautions speculation as investigation continues into death of Charlie, 6, from Munno Para

The mother of the girl who died leaves her Munno Para house this morning after police arrived. (ABC News)

Police have arrived at the home of the six-year-old girl who died of suspected neglect to conduct a forensic sweep, as SA's Police Commissioner calls for people to be mindful when commenting on the case. 

WARNING: This story contains content that some readers may find upsetting. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised this article contains the images and names of people who have died.

Charlie, was taken to hospital by paramedics during the early hours of Friday morning after being found unresponsive at her home, but died soon after arrival.

This morning, her mother was asked to leave the Munno Para home after police officers and detectives arrived to conduct a forensic sweep. Police are also interviewing neighbours.

SA Police has launched a taskforce to investigate Charlie's death and the suspected neglect of her five siblings.

Six-year-old Charlie died last Friday after being taken to hospital by ambulance. (Facebook)

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens has urged people to think about Charlie's family before commenting and said, for now, the welfare of the children was "critically important". 

"I'd probably just remind people who are speculating or making comments in the public domain that there is a family at the centre of this," he said this morning.

"There are other children; there is a mum.

"We don't know the circumstances at this stage.

"We don't know the outcome of our investigation or what the coroner's determinations will be.

"And I'd just ask people to think about what impact their comments might have on other people that are affected by this."

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens urged the public not to speculate on what happened. (ABC News: Ben Pettitt)

Yesterday, the ABC revealed Charlie's father was in jail for serious domestic violence against the mother.

The court heard the man was spending his family's money on drugs and had multiple substances – including methamphetamine — in his system at the time of the crime.

The judge noted in the sentencing remarks that all of the couple's children were at school and being cared for at the time.

Other children in care

The five other children who lived with Charlie and their mother have been removed. 

Commissioner Stevens said a decision about their longer-term care would be made later this week.

A woman, who did not want to be named, yesterday told the ABC she called the Department for Child Protection eight times with concerns about Charlie's family.

"We rang eight times to DCP to try and get those kids help and they went there but nothing ever happened from it," she said.

"Nothing was done. They didn't even go into the house to help get those kids out."

The Department for Child Protection and three other agencies had been involved with the family. (ABC News: Eugene Boisvert)

Commissioner Stevens said he would not speculate on the actions of that department — or the three others that had had contact with the family — instead leaving it to the taskforce to investigate and prepare a report for the coroner.

"There's no usefulness in speculating or making assumptions or statements that aren't backed up by evidence and I'll leave that to the investigation process," he said.

'Not a lot has been learned'

The grandparents of Chloe Valentine and Amber and Korey, whose deaths each sparked multiple inquiries, have spoken of their fresh heartbreak.

Belinda Valentine, whose granddaughter Chloe died in 2012 despite more than 20 notifications to child protection authorities, said hearing of Charlie's death was "very devastating".

"It's hard to put into words," she told ABC Radio Adelaide this morning.

"And it's been a long time, but it was like it was yesterday for us when Chloe died.

"And it's going to happen."

Belinda Valentine with her granddaughter Chloe, who died 10 years ago. (Supplied)

Ms Valentine said her "whole heart and soul has been poured into trying to prevent any other family or any other child from having to go through this type of suffering".

"So I suppose some of my questions are, with reviews — and we've had so many — it's about what the department can learn, what the government can learn, it really seems like not a lot has been learned, and that's really concerning," she says. 

Ms Valentine said people with lived experience were not included in the previous reviews, leaving out an important insight and perspective.

"For me it's not about gotcha moments ... it's about how do we work effectively as a whole community looking at ways to be able to change but in decision-making roles," she said.

"Because once the decisions are made, and recommendations are then made from those reviews, there's an agenda already set and quite often the agenda seems to be the same."

Korey Lee Mitchell and Amber Rose who were killed in 2016. (Supplied)

Steven Egberts, whose grandchildren Amber and Korey were murdered in 2016, said he had "no confidence whatsoever" that enough change had been made within child protection.

"Obviously this is very concerning that we're back in this same position again, but I think we all knew we would be," he said.

Mr Egberts said the findings of a coronial inquest into Amber and Korey's deaths handed down earlier this year, "only gives rise to more concern".

"The department's refusal to accept responsibility leaves us all in a position where we know things aren't going to change," he said.

"Their refusal to accept any responsibility ... just doesn't give any faith in where it's all going."

Acting Premier Susan Close told ABC Radio Adelaide it would be "unhelpful" for her to provide commentary while the police investigation was underway, but she had "a lot of questions" that she hoped would be answered in due course.

"How on earth has this happened? Who was looking, what were they seeing and what happened?" she said.

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