Child Protection Intervention and Children’s Court Proceedings

Child Protection staff within the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH), operate under the Children, Youth and Families Act, which is different and separate to the Family Court system.

Often, when a parent or family member is notified that that a child or relative is subject to a report or investigation by DFFH, this can be a difficult and confronting experience.  Children’s Court matters may intersect with Family Law proceedings, and Coulter Roache possess experienced lawyers who are capable of providing guidance and representation in relation to:

  • Initial investigations and contact with Child Protection workers;
  • Protection applications, including the removal of children;
  • Variations, extensions, and revocations of Children’s Court Orders;
  • Appeals of Children’s Court Matters to the County or Supreme Courts of Victoria; and
  • Appeals of DFFH Case Plan Decisions both internally and to VCAT.

Becoming a party to proceedings

A person, including a person other than a parent, may seek to be joined as a party to ongoing Children’s Court proceedings. When the Court receives such an application, it must allow “as far as practicable” a person who has a “direct interest in the proceedings” to fully participate in the proceedings.

Typically, these applications are made by grandparents, other relatives and third parties who are involved in disputes over the primary care and placement of children removed from their parent’s care, or disputes regarding the DFFH case direction.

Coulter Roache can provide detailed advice or representation to grandparents and non-parents involved in Children’s Court proceedings or who may be uncertain of their rights when dealing with DFFH.

Permanent Care

Permanent Care is when a child, who is unable to live safely with their parents, is placed with an approved Permanent Carer, such as an existing kinship or foster carer. In some circumstances an application to the Family Court for a parenting order may be more appropriate.

The Permanent Care placement is formalised through the Children’s Court which grants a Permanent Care Order (PCO) providing the carer with parental responsibility for the child.

Permanent care provides long term security and certainty about the future care for children and remains in force until the child turns 18, or marries, whichever happens first.

Coulter Roache is able to provide Permanent Carers with advice regarding their rights and obligations under a Permanent Care Order, as well as how to best manage the contact between a child and a parent moving forwards.

We offer a no cost 30 minute initial consultation to discuss your situation with an experienced family lawyer. The initial consultation provides an opportunity to gain an informed understanding of your matter and the necessary steps to achieve a resolution.

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