Child Protection and Children’s Court

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Intervention by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing – Child Protection (or DFFH), or proceedings through the Family Division of the Children’s Court of Victoria, can be an extremely difficult time for any family.

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 confronting experience.

Child Protection matters are conducted under the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic), which is different and separate to the family law system.

Coulter Legal possess experienced lawyers who are capable of providing guidance and representation in relation to:

  1. Initial investigations and contact with Child Protection workers;
  2. Protection applications, including the removal of children;
  3. Variations, extensions, and revocations of Children’s Court Orders;
  4. Appeals of DFFH Case Plan Decisions both internally and to VCAT;
  5. Becoming a party to proceedings; and
  6. Intervention Orders.

Protection Applications and related Children’s Court Hearings

Protection Applications are the primary mechanism by which Child Protection commences legal proceedings against a family. When doing so Child Protection must demonstrate a risk of harm to a child to justify such an action. We can assist to navigate Protection Applications through providing representation at metropolitan and rural Courts and advocating for your legal rights with Child Protection on your behalf.

Intervention Orders

In some circumstances it can be appropriate for Intervention Orders to be heard in the Family Division of the Children’s Court. This can be where a child is the Applicant or Respondent, or alternatively if there are concurrent Children’s Court proceedings. At Coulter Legal we can assist with these Intervention Orders, including both Applicants and Respondents.

Becoming a party to proceedings

A person, including a person other than a parent, may seek to participate in 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.

Coulter Legal 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. This arrangement is formalised through the Children’s Court when granting a Permanent Care Order providing an individual 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 Legal 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 forward.

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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