Family wants baby back with siblings
Standoff over complex child case
A TASMANIAN couple is engaged in a standoff with the state’s child protection services in a bid to care for their infant grandchild, even though they already care for the child’s siblings.
The Mercury has been told of the months-long battle between the couple and the department over their attempts to bring the infant into their home.
Before the birth of the infant earlier this year, the mother of the children asked her father and his wife, both of whom have done emergency fostering in the past, to take care of her children full-time.
The infant was initially placed in the foster care system but then the grandparents said they asked Child Safety Services for the infant to join its siblings in their household.
But they said they had not been able to bring the child home.
“We’ve made sure everything is OK in anticipation that the baby would join us here,” the grandfather said. “We’ve asked numerous times if the baby could join its siblings here but, every time, it seems that the goalposts are shifted.
“The department recently said because the children who came here are so stable, they don’t want to destabilise them.”
The family cannot be identified for legal reasons.
The couple said that, recently, a child psychologist was commissioned to come into the house to do an assessment.
“He asked us why wasn’t the baby here,” the grandfather said.
A report from the assessment is due to be completed within the next six to eight months but any recommendations will only be noted.
Senior State Government staff have told the Mercury they are “mystified” by the situation.
Human Services Minister Jacquie Petrusma said she could not legally comment on any individual child services or carer cases.
“All decisions regarding children in care are made with the child’s best interests at heart,” she said.
A Department of Health and Human Services spokesman said Child Safety Services always worked with families to put arrangements in place that were in the best interests of the child.
The department said it could not, and would not, comment on individual cases.
“In line with privacy protections under the Act, the department cannot, and will not, comment on individual matters or cases or which, in any way, could identify people,” the spokesman said.
“Where a child is required to come into care under a Care and Protection Order, the Child Safety Service will always work with family and put in place arrangements that are in the best interests of the child in the circumstances and continue to review and adjust those arrangements to promote the importance of family care where possible.