As part of your proceedings in the Children’s Court, you have a number of responsibilities to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome for your children.
It is important, even though things can get emotive and heated, that where possible you cooperate at all times with Family and Community Services, in particular the case worker and case manager allocated to your case.
It is natural for you to feel upset or angry when the FACS case worker and manager step in and remove your children. It is also natural for you to feel offended that they have questioned your ability to care for your children. We stress that you must resist the urge to verbally denigrate or make threats to any FACS Officer, worker or any other person involved in your case as this will have very serious consequences for the conduct of your matter.
During the course of your proceedings there will be numerous appointments that you will need to make and attend, including:
- With our office and the solicitor handling your matter.
- At the Court for any court mention or hearing date
- In some cases, at the Children’s Court for purposes of assessment by a court clinician
- With FACS Officers, usually at the FACS office where your case is allocated.
- Sometimes with the Police.
- With other services providers and agencies at the request of FACS
- In some cases, with your doctor, health care worker or pathology lab to provide urinalysis testing as requested by FACS.
Although we are legally representing you in your case, we cannot make you attend for appointments. It is important, if you want the best possible outcome, that you take responsibility for your own actions and ensure that you comply with all reasonable directions.
This means, for example, if you are requested to attend for urinalysis and cannot attend please immediately contact your FACS case worker to notify them so that there is no inference made that you have deliberately missed the appointment.
In many circumstances, there will be meetings held with Family and Community Services, both in the early part of the proceedings and in formulation of the Care Plan. Minutes are taken at these meetings and a copy should be provided to you. If you do not receive a written record of the meetings, please request one from your FACS case worker as you are entitled to receive it.
It is also important that you keep a copy of any Orders made by the Court. These will usually be sent by our office with a covering letter and are for your own personal records. Please note that there is usually a small fee to obtain a replacement copy.
If, at any time, you cannot meet your appointments or responsibilities, please notify our office so that we can work with you and notify FACS or other service providers as soon as possible.
In the event that you miss more than three consecutive appointments with our office, we will have no option but to cease to act for you as we cannot attend Court without having current and updated instructions from you.
It is imperative that unless you are advised directly by your Lawyer, that you are present at every Court date.