Family Forum: Navigating Child Protection

Father of three struggling to get his kids back into his care.


I’m a father of three beautiful children. My ex-partner and I separated, then after a short time my kids were taken by the Department of Child Protection. Since then I’ve been treated as a nobody with no visits with my girls, no telephone calls (hardly any) and treated like a scumbag. My question is, how do I get my kids back as they weren’t taken from me? Every route seems to break me further. I’m at breaking point and suicidal thoughts are entering my mind more often. I can’t live without my children!


The panel understands that the care and protection of children is an emotional, stressful and complex issue for all members of those families affected by such circumstances.

Formal Care and Protection Orders are made by a judge of the Youth Court at the request of representatives of the Child Protection Minister. Such orders are not given lightly and are always made in the best interests of the child or children.

If an order has been put in place on behalf of the state this takes precedence over any access allowed under Family Law. However, in such circumstances the department would have allocated a case worker to assist the family and those made responsible for the care of the child to facilitate contact with significant others, subject to safety considerations. Such contact may be supervised or limited by factors such as the wishes of the child.

If you feel that you have been treated unfairly, you may wish to consult with the case worker or the Department of Child Protection, which will be able to advise you of a range of agencies, both government and non-government, that can assist you to make representations for more contact with your children.

Given that there are significant legal aspects to consider, you may need legal advice.

If you do not already have a lawyer, you should seek one with experience in family law. The Legal Services Commission of SA has a free help line (1300 366 424) and the Law Society of SA has a specialist referral service (8229 0200).

You should also consider your own mental wellbeing by consulting with a GP, who may prepare a Mental Health Care Plan to provide access to a psychological support services. If you feel your suicidal thoughts are at risk of becoming overwhelming, you can contact Lifeline (13 11 14), Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636) or the emergency department of your local hospital.

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Family Forum is a panel of general practitioners, medical specialists, lawyers, therapeutic and financial counsellors to discuss each letter before the appropriate professional answers it. The panel is appointed by Relationships Australia SA.

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