Child Protection & DFFH Matters
Child protection matters involving the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) can be emotionally stressful, especially for parents. It is crucial to understand your rights and obligations and to seek legal representation to address the concerns raised by the DFFH.
The DFFH focuses on the well-being of children, particularly in cases of family violence or child abuse. As a state government agency, it deals with disability, families and children, concessions and benefits, housing, young people, and emergencies. If the DFFH believes a child is at risk of abuse or neglect or if it believes that the child’s parents are unlikely to prevent either from happening, it can request a child protection order from the Children’s Court of Victoria.
Understanding DFFH Child Protection Orders
The Children’s Court can issue one of the seven different types of child protection orders:
Care by Secretary Order
When the court believes that a child should be permanently cared for by someone else, it will issue a Care by Secretary Order. The DFFH will gain parental responsibility for the child and will use the order to find a permanent carer.
Family Preservation Order
A Family Preservation Order aims to keep the family together by providing support services to help the family address any issues affecting the child’s safety and well-being.
Long-term Care Order
A Long-term Care Order allows a child to be placed in out-of-home care for a longer period.
Permanent Care Order
A Permanent Care Order is issued when a child cannot return to their family home and requires a permanent placement.
Temporary Assessment Order
A Temporary Assessment Order allows the DFFH to assess the child’s situation and take necessary action to ensure their safety and well-being.
Interim Accommodation Order
An Interim Accommodation Order allows the DFFH to take the child into custody and place them in out-of-home care temporarily.
Family Reunification Order
A Family Reunification Order aims to reunite the child with their family after they have been placed in out-of-home care.
Your Rights and Legal Representation
It’s important to remember that an investigation by the DFFH does not necessarily mean you’ll go to court, although it does mean that you should find a family solicitor to advocate for you. Dealing with the DFFH can be emotionally stressful, and you might not understand exactly why you’re being investigated. As a parent, feelings like panic, fear, and anxiety are normal.
To make dealing with the DFFH as simple as possible, it’s essential to understand your rights and responsibilities in relation to your children. An experienced family law solicitor can help explain exactly how child protection laws work, as well as advocate on your behalf to the DFFH and in court.
At Shane McClure, we understand how emotionally stressful matters involving the DFFH can be for parents. Our experienced team of lawyers provides empathetic advice that helps you and your family get the outcome that’s right for you. We’re fluent in nine different languages, so we can work with you in your language and ensure you fully understand your rights and obligations.
Fighting a Child Protection Order in Victoria
If you need to fight a child protection order in Victoria, you should speak to your solicitor first, as appealing a child protection order is complex. Your solicitor can help you analyse your matter and find the best avenue for appeal. They can also file a request for a review of a Children’s Court decision within 14 days of the decision being handed down or appeal to the Supreme Court against an interim accommodation order or on a question of law for other orders.
The Process of Appealing a Child Protection Order in Victoria
Fighting a child protection order in Victoria can be a complex process, but an experienced solicitor can help you navigate the process. Here are the steps you need to take:
1. Speak to Your Solicitor
If you want to appeal a child protection order, you should speak to an experienced solicitor first. They can help you understand your options and advise you on the best course of action.
2. Analyse Your Matter
Your solicitor will work with you to analyse your matter and find the best avenue for appeal. They’ll review the evidence and identify any legal arguments that may be relevant to your case.
3. Request a Review
If your Solicitor thinks there is grounds for an appeal, your solicitor can help you file a request for a review of a Children’s Court decision within 14 days of the decision being handed down. The review process provides an opportunity for you to have the decision reviewed by a higher court.
4. Appeal to the Supreme Court
If you want to appeal a child protection order, you can appeal to the Supreme Court against an interim accommodation order or on a question of law for other orders. An experienced solicitor can help you navigate the process and advocate on your behalf in court.
Contact Shane McClure for Legal Support
At Shane McClure, we understand that matters involving the DFFH can be stressful and emotional for parents. That’s why we provide empathetic advice that helps you and your family get the outcome that’s right for you.
We have a team of experienced lawyers who can help you understand your rights and obligations and provide legal representation in matters involving the DFFH. We’re fluent in nine different languages, so we can work with you in your language and ensure you fully understand your rights and obligations.
Contact us today to book a free consultation and get the legal support you need. We’re here to help you through this challenging time and get the best outcome for you and your family.