Child Protection Law
Information for Parents:
Are you a parent who has had a child removed from your care? We understand that intervention by the Department of Child Protection can be frustrating, emotional and difficult to understand. Parents often feel left in the dark when a child is removed but we will ensure that you understand your rights and the legal process ahead of you.
After a child is removed, the Department must apply to the Youth Court for a guardianship order. The first application will typically be for a period of three months, and might include other orders, such as mental health or drug assessments. During the initial order, the Department will work with you to assess whether they will reunify your children back into your care or seek long term orders. Although lawyers are not permitted to attend Reunification hearings, Knox & Associates can still offer you advice and support throughout this process. We can also assist with referrals to parents groups, programs and other supports available to you.
If you don’t agree with the application that is being made by the Department, you can elect to defend it in Court. Defending an application can be difficult and there will be a number of issues you will need to address for the Court. We encourage you to seek advice before electing to defend an application.
If you have been served with a Section 41 notice, please contact us immediately for urgent advice and representation. In many cases, parents are eligible for legal aid. We can assist you with completing an urgent application for funding. If you are not eligible for legal aid, we can discuss affordable fixed fees.
Information for Family Members:
Although only parents are named as parties to Youth Court proceedings, if you are a stepparent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or other family member, you can still play an important role in court proceedings.
Children are often placed with family members whilst the Court determines a guardianship application or for the duration of the guardianship order. Family members may be entitled to make submissions to the Youth Court about the guardianship application generally or on specific issues. In some instances, you may be eligible to apply to be joined as a party to the proceedings. You will need advice about your rights as a family member and what options are available specific to your circumstances.
Contact us now to discuss your rights.