Are Child Protection involved with your family?
Are you looking for information and support?
This page is for you. You will find information and links here to help you:
- interact with Child Protection services effectively
- find support to address protective concerns about children
- understand your rights
- manage your emotions and know you are not alone
There are a number of links provided below for legal information, support services and stories shared by families who have been in your shoes.
Firstly, here are some helpful tips.
Tips for Dealing with Child Protection
- Keep your own notes and records. Use a diary to record the date and time of every interaction you have with anyone related to your case. Record the names of people you speak to and what was said. Also record every activity you are doing to address protective concerns about your children.
- Ask questions, and keep asking questions. There is no such thing as a stupid question and you can never ask too many questions.
- Prepare your own agenda and list of questions for all meetings.
- BEWARE social media. Be mindful about using Facebook, Twitter or other social media programs. Comments you make could lead to further reports being made to Child Protection or be used against you in other ways.
- Manage your emotions. Find a safe space to express your emotions when you need to. Use coping strategies to settle your nerves and feel in control when you attend meetings, court and contact with your child.
Know Your Rights
- Seek legal advice. You have a right to understand the laws affecting you and your family. It is best to get legal advice as soon as you become aware that Child Protection have received reports about your family.
- Take a support person or advocate to meetings or court.
- Ask for help and support. Surround yourself with as many supportive people as you can who will provide practical advice, encouragement, understanding and respect.
- Start your own support group. Consider starting a support group with other parents and families facing similar issues in your area.
Help your Child Cope
- Maintain regular contact between visits via phone calls, letters, cards, emails, texts or Skype (whichever methods are available to you and suitable for your child's age).
- Establish simple rituals and structure for all contact. Whether the contact be face to face, by phone or by letter consider how you will greet your child, share news and stories, ask or answer questions, share feelings, end the contact. For example, you might use the same phrase every time you say goodbye. "Rituals act like coat hangers upon which people hang the good memories of their lives" (Andrew Fuller 2007).
- Listen without interrupting. Remember: "The first duty of love is to listen" (Paul Tillich).
- Be supportive and reassuring. Tell your children that what is happening is not their fault and that even though you may be feeling sad or angry yourself, you are OK.
- Put yourself in their shoes. Think about yourself at the same age and what you would have needed in the same situation. Don't make promises you can't keep, or burden your child with adult worries and concerns.
Do you have a disability?
Information and services for parents with disabilities.
Healthy Start - information for parents with learning difficulties.
Villamanta Legal Service - legal advice for people who believe children have been removed due to their parent's intellectual disability.
People with Disabilities Australia (PWDA) - advocacy for parents with disability who are dealing with child protection. Call 1800 422 015.
Do you have mental health or addiction issues?
Information and services for parents experiencing mental health or addiction issues.
Mental Health Legal Centre Inc. - legal advice when children have been removed due to their parent's mental illness.
First Step Legal Service - legal advice for parents with children in care as a result of addiction issues.
Publications and websites to help you make sense of the legal system and know your rights.
Legal Aid Victoria - information about going to court for child protection matters in Victoria.
Child Protection: A guide for parents and family members - a publication from Western Suburbs Legal Service Inc.
Human Rights Commission Victoria - Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities contains twenty basic rights that promote and protect the values of freedom, respect, equality and dignity.
Legal Aid Victoria Child Protection Video - for Newly Arrived Communities.
Federation of Community Legal Centres Victoria - find a Community Legal Centre near you.
You are not alone
Inspiring and heartfelt stories from parent's who have experienced the impact of child removal.
RISE Magazine - Rise combats negative stereotypes of child welfare-affected families. Rise trains parents to write about their experiences with the child welfare system.
FIN Townsville video - Family Inclusion Network Townsville has worked with parents to make a video about their experiences.