How we helped parents reunite their two young sons

How we helped parents reunite their two young sons

Luke (not his real name) was removed from his teenage mother as a baby, but years later, when his parents had their second child, they came to us for help to bring him home.

Find out how we helped Alison and Jack (not their real names) fight to reunite their family.

About Alison and Jack

Alison and Jack loved being a family, but often when they played with their 12-month old baby they found it hard to shake the feeling they should also be sharing the fun with his older brother, Luke.

Alison was a teenager when she fell pregnant with Luke. The Department of Health and Human Services feared her intellectual disability and age would put Luke at risk, and the state took over his care. They eventually placed Luke with his grandfather.

two young boys hugging each other

Their fight to raise their son Luke

When the Department of Health and Human Services moved to extend the guardianship order (the equivalent of the current 'care by secretary order'), which kept Luke with his grandfather, they decided to fight for him.

Their greatest wish was to raise their boys together, but the department thought it would be better for Luke’s psychological health to remain with his grandfather.

One of our lawyers saw the couple for the first time when the guardianship orders were set to be extended.

Alison and Jack had been co-operating with the department up to that point, but the visits – which were left up to the grandfather to organise – didn’t happen over a number of years after a falling out with him.

Signs of a safe home

Jack, Alison and their lawyer attended several conciliation conferences with the department to reinforce the signs of a safe home:

  • Alison’s relationship with Jack had strengthened
  • the couple – now in their twenties – had family support
  • there had been no protective services involvement with their second child.

As a result, the magistrate requested an independent Children’s Court Clinic report.

The report gave Alison a positive psychological assessment, which then helped secure the department’s co-operation.

How Luke was introduced to his little brother

The guardianship order was replaced with an interim accommodation order, which enabled different living arrangements.

Over a period of months, Luke was introduced to his parents and brother with longer visits until finally he settled into his new home.

How we can help

If you need help with a child protection matter, find out more about:

You can also call Legal Help on 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday 8.45 am to 5.15 pm to find out how we can help.