This article has been included with the prior approval of our client.

We recently achieved success for one of our clients in recovering his newborn son who had been taken directly out of hospital by the Department of Community Services (DOCS) after DOCS assumed parental responsibility for the care of the child under Section 44 of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection Act) 1998. This Act gives the Director General (acting through DOCS) the ability to assume parental responsibility for children.

DOCS removed the newborn boy from hospital without any advance warning to our client and placed the child in full time foster care despite the fact our client was available to care for his son and despite the fact that our client had no adverse record whatsoever concerning DOCS or any other blemish against his character.

DOCS then severely restricted our client’s ability to see his son through a supervised contact agency and made an approach to the Court that the child be placed in foster care for a period of 18 years.

The basis for DOCS intervention was that they had intervened concerning previous children of the mother of the child (these children were of a previous relationship unconnected with our client).

The relationship between our client and the mother of the child broke down and it was only our client and his mother (the child’s grandmother) who would be caring for the newborn.

DOCS’ decision and their proposals for long term foster care were immediately challenged.

We are very happy to report the Court has ruled completely in favour of our client and that, as this edition of the newsletter appears, arrangements are being made for a transfer of parenting rights from the temporary foster parents to our client.

If you need assistance with any family law or child related matters, please contact Greg Dickson or email

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