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Family court

'I want my children to have the family I never had'

A mother who was once in state care says she wants her children to be happy.
I WANT THEM to have the family I never had.

Those were the words of a mother giving evidence in a care order review of her children last month.

The court was told the two children in State care were doing well in their new foster homes.

The judge asked the mother if she understood what a care order review was.

Addressing the court, the mother said: “When I was in care, a review was to say how the children are getting on, find out what works for them and doesn’t work for them.”

She said she understood that one of her children was “very happy”. She said she could not fault his foster family.

He is happy like a normal child should be. I want them to have the family I never had. I wanted them to have consistency.

She told the court she found the access visits with her children difficult, stating that one of her children would not do anything she asked.

“They aren’t with me every day so I don’t know what I am doing.”

When asked by the judge what she needed, she said:

Get me rehab and housing. I need help and support with that. If anyone needs rehab it’s me.

The guardian for the children said they were very close with their foster parents and were “very endearing children”.

The judge told the legal teams in court that everyone should write down the mother’s description of what a care review is, as it was to the point as to what they were all doing there that day. He said any relevant supports for the mother should be put in place.

This is one of many cases relating to children in care heard in the Family Court every day. Last month, attended a number of days of proceedings, listening to the sensitive and complex issues being dealt with by judges, families, lawyers and social workers.

The final report of the Child Care Law Reporting Project last month presented data from 1,272 childcare proceedings between December 2012 and July 2015.

The cases range from abuses by parents to problems with foster care to issues around services for children in care.

Last month, a judge raised concerns about the lack of resources for teenagers with weight issues for example.

A court was told there have been delays in getting a child in state care with obesity issues specialised care.

The Child and Family Agency, Tulsa, said the child would not attend a hospital appointment and the clinician could not make on site visits.

The agency said it was now exploring whether a private clinic might be suitable.

A health report on the child stated the matter was very serious and that his condition has deteriorated.

The judge said that if the child was on drugs, a doctor would be able to go out and visit the patient.

“I am struggling with this,” said the judge, who questioned why there seemed to be a cut off for teenagers who had weight problems.

He said if there was a private clinic then that service should be made available to the child.

The court was told the matter was “urgent” and had to be dealt with as a matter of priority.

Read: I chose to put my four children through private secondary school, here’s why>

Read: I love a drink but I don’t want to end up like my dad: an alcoholic and alone>

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