Hayley* and David* and their two young children lived together as a family until they were evicted from their rental property. Hayley and David were homeless for 3 months. They entrusted the care of their two children to two family members while they stabilised their living arrangements. Despite finding appropriate accommodation after 3 months and remaining there for 12 months, Hayley and David’s family members continued to refuse to return the children to their care. There was an informal agreement in place, but Hayley and David were only able to arrange irregular and infrequent contact. Family dispute resolution was attempted, but the other family members were not willing to attend.
We assisted Hayley and David by corresponding with the solicitor for the other family members. Following the recommendations made by a Family Report Writer, the children were returned to Hayley and David’s full-time care over the period of a school term.
In addition, while the children were in the care of Hayley and David’s family members we corresponded with the school attended by one of their children. The school had attempted to cancel a scheduled parent-teacher interview to be attended by Hayley and David because the family members misinformed the school about Hayley and David’s entitlement to attend. We pointed out to the school that Hayley and David are entitled to attend such meetings as they have the parental responsibility for that child and there are no court orders in place to state otherwise. We requested any concerns about our clients’ attendance be provided, but no concerns were raised. The meeting went ahead and the parents appreciated having the opportunity of being involved in their children’s schooling again
* Actual names have not been used.