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Care and Protection

Care and Protection

The Care and Protection Service brings together experienced and specialised lawyers and community workers to provide wrap-around legal and non-legal support and advocacy to families facing child protection proceedings.

The service adopts an early intervention practice model which has been developed with input from representatives from across the legal fraternity, as well as health and community sectors. This means that clients will be provided intensive advocacy in the early stages of care and protection proceedings and then ongoing advocacy and support for the duration.

Our lawyers

Provide parents with legal advice and representation for the full duration of their care and protection proceedings and will also link clients in with assistance and representation in relation to other related legal problems.

Our community workers

Will work with parents and families to ensure they are seamlessly linked in with, and receive, the services and assistance they require.  Our community workers can also accompany parents to out-of-court meetings with caseworkers and service providers.

Intake criteria

Our care and protection legal service will prioritise parents for whom mental illness or mental health issues are raised as a risk factor by the Department in their application to the court (or pre-birth investigation/intervention), where those parents also have:

  • a diagnosed mental illness (distinguished from cognitive impairment and brain injury), including but not limited to:
    • psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia;
    • mood disorders such as bipolar affective disorders, major depression;
    • suicidal ideation or suicide attempt;
    • past history of psychosis, especially postpartum psychosis;
    • severe non-psychotic disorders with significant impairment to functioning and/or complex care requirements; and/or
    • a history of psychiatric hospital or mental health facility admission under the Mental Health Act.

We maintain a broad discretion, subject to resources, to assist otherwise especially vulnerable community members including:

  • parents experiencing family violence;
  • parents experiencing financial hardship, housing insecurity or at risk of homelessness;
  • parents with a disability;
  • parents from culturally or linguistically diverse backgrounds; and/or
  • Aboriginal clients (especially those conflicted out of receiving legal services from ALS, AFLS and Djinda)

Absent indicators of co-existing mental illness, the service will not (at this stage) see people with:

  • cognitive impairment or intellectual disability;
  • brain injury; or
  • a history of drug induced psychosis.

To access the Care and Protection service or to seek legal help, contact the team on 08 9328 8012 or Freecall 1800 620 285.

Need help? https://www.ruah.org.au/need-help/

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