Protection & Care - Getting Help

Contributed by JessicaPeake and TamekaBrown and current to 27 July 2018

A number of legal services provide advice and assistance with protection and care maters, ranging from free or low cost government funded services like Legal Aid WA and Community Legal Centres to paid private firms.

Below are the details and links for legal services providing free or low cost legal advice and representation for protection and care matters:

Legal Aid WA have a Duty Lawyer Service available at the Perth Children's Court to assist parents or other parties with advice and duty lawyer representation on the day of the court listing. Phone advice can also be given.

There are a number of Community Legal Services spread across Western Australia. Each centre has discretion as to the level of assistance they can provide and it may be in the form of one-off legal advice only or could extend to representation at Court. It is important to note that quite a few of the Community Legal Centres who do protection and care matters do not have capacity to provide assistance and representation with trials and there are some centres who cannot advise on protection and care matters at all.

To find a private solicitor assisting with protection and care matters, a simple internet search is the best way.

Support Services

Other useful support services who may be able to help include, but are not limited to: For a comprehensive list of other family violence supports services, the Department have a guide available on their website.

Counselling

If the Department identifies mental health, drug or alcohol abuse or family violence as an issue, be proactive and seek some assistance. Working on one's mental health or addressing addiction will help them to be a better parent.

Relationship Counselling/Programs:

Specific Drug and Alcohol Counselling/Programs:

Note: there are many other services who can assist with counselling and there is no right or wrong service to use.

Other Resources

Additional information and resources on protection and care processes from the Department's point of view can be found on the Department's website and in their Casework Practice Manual.

Legal Aid WA have both general information and specific information sheets available on their website.

The Family Inclusion Network of WA also have a helpful booklet titled "Finding your way with the Department" for parents dealing with the Department.

Making a Complaint

If a person is unhappy or worried about something the Department are doing or not doing, they can make a complaint to the Department to try and get things sorted out.

There is a formal complaint process to be followed and information on this process and what is required is detailed on the Department's website.

However, it is always a good idea to first raise the issue with the child's Caseworker or Team Leader before initiating the formal complaints process.

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