A Victorian coroner has criticised a care agency over its handling of an autistic boy who drowned while on a day trip in Melbourne four years ago.
Felix Hua, 14, drowned in the Yarra River near Fairfield while on an excursion with a respite carer in 2009.
His carer, Sri Lankan student Vipula Rajakaruna Mudiyanselage, had walked to the car to get biscuits when Felix vanished from a sandpit where he had been playing.
The respite program was outsourced by the Yarra City Council to Southern Cross Care (SCC).
In her investigation Coroner Heather Spooner found that SCC tried to shift part of the responsibility for the boy's death on to the carer but she concluded he could not be blamed.
The coroner found Southern Cross provided inadequate training and qualifications to the carer and a failure to properly collect, manage and communicate information about Felix may have compromised his safety.