04-08-2018 09:59 AM
Hi … I’ve been a member of this site for a while now. I’ve occasionally asked questions but mostly read what other people write and the replies they get. Since I last wrote my whole world has come crashing down around me and I find myself with situations where I am left feeling like I’m drowning in it all. My question is … how confidential are the things we write here? If the Department of Communities and Child Safety or other such organisation requested my posts would the admins be required to share them?
04-08-2018 10:27 AM
Hi @jdbza I am sorry to hear your world has come crashing down. We are here to listen and the community will support you as best we can. In terms of your query regarding the Dept of Communities/Child and Safety. Please note this entire forum is public, but our user's are anonymous. However, as per the agreement you made upon sign up:
We respect your privacy and anonymity, however there are times when we are obliged under law to make reports to the relevant authorities. There are two main times when this occurs: 1, If you make a post that indicates you are at imminent risk of attempting suicide then we will share your IP address and any other information we have about you with emergency services; 2. If you post that you are at risk of harm or doing harm to a family member or someone you live with who is under the age of 18.
I hope this helps you to understand our duty of care.
04-08-2018 11:35 AM
Breez-RO thank you for your reply. I tried looking on the site but couldn’t find the answer. I understand your duty of care policy. I have no idea how to put into words what has been happening. We feel let down by some many people whose jobs are supposed to be helping us not tearing our family apart. I feel red raw with emotion and have no idea how to think or feel, let alone how to move forward through it all.
04-08-2018 11:59 AM
Hey there @jdbza no problem at all, there's a link to the info here. This sounds so incredibly hard, I can hear you are experiencing a lot of pain. Has something specifically happened, or multiple things in this process? I can link you in with a few support services once we understand a little more about what's been going on for you. We are all here to listen. @taokat @sunflowermom
04-08-2018 01:40 PM
Thank you … a child (they have just turned 15) who we have cared for the last almost 4 years decided they wanted to go back to the country they were born and used to live in before they came to live with us. When we told them that it was not legally possible that they had to stay with us the child made allegations of physical abuse against my husband. They went to school in the morning unbeknown to us they had packed all their school books etc in their school bag. When we went to pick them up we were told by the school that they had made their way to the local police station and that we needed to go there. A police officer explained that the child had made several allegations of physical assault against my husband and the child had been placed in DoCS care and that they wouldn’t be returning home. We were told to go home and pack the child’s belongings and that 2 police officer would come and pick them up. Fast forward 6 weeks and the child is in care as we signed a 30 day care order while things were sorted out. The child has been suspended twice from school during that time. The first time was for 1 week for showing sexually explicit material to other students at school on a mobile phone they had acquired after they left our care. The second suspension including the school holidays is for 1 month for systematically breaking the conditions of their return to school behaviour contract. They also assaulted the same student twice during the 3 days they manage to be at school before being suspended for the 2nd time. While in care the child has been physically assaulting co-tenants at where they are living as well as punching walls, doors etc as well as kicking them. The child has made threats of suicide twice and each time the medical people have spoken to the child for acting up for attention and to stop what they were doing. They are correct in their assessment and it’s not a case of them not listening to the child properly. The upside is the child has begun the intake process of the Child, Youth Mental Health Service and they are also seeing a psychologist. Both of these things we have been asking for the child for ages.
DoCS have after an investigation that took a month cleared us of ever physically harming the child while they were in our care however because of a letter I wrote to the child after they left our care they believe that I have emotionally endangered the child. The letter said that I loved them unconditionally, would always be there for them, that they could email me anytime. The line that DoCS has taken exception to was me telling them that even if we could never live under the same roof that I would always love them and be there unconditionally. They CSO and Team Leader said they believe that the child’s behaviour since they have not been in our care is a direct result of the trauma that I have inflicted on them since they have been out of my care. Besides the letter I have seen the child once as DoCS couldn’t find a placement near us so the placement is almost 2 hours drive away from us. The child rings me almost daily after dinner and the youth worker listens in to the call as it is always on speaker phone. For the first 2 weeks the child was away from us we honestly believed what we had been told - that they wouldn’t be returning home. When we found out there was a possibility that they could come home we started searching out and looking for supports and courses where we could improve our skill set to be able to help us as a family.
We have a meeting this week with 2 CSOs in our home where they have asked for our family, friends and support people to come to. They are going to ‘re access’ us to see if it is safe for the child to return and have said they are considering taking out a ‘protection order.’ I am feeling heartbroken, angry, upset and betrayed by a system that at every turn has let us down. The child has difficulties caused by trauma when in their parents care and the subsequent 21 or so foster care placements before they came to live with us. We have advocated and supported and been there for the child unconditionally. We have raised 6 other children and our youngest is 22. I feel like my entire being has been called into question. I have chosen to be a stay at home mum for the last 30 years and love being a mum. Life hasn’t always been easy and we have gone through the death of one of our children and raised 2 children with disabilities. We have been working with a counsellor and our church has been amazing with their support. We don’t want the child to be in care - we want them home where they belong. We will however not let them be released into the Australian foster system and have decided that we would make the decision to go through the courts for them to return to their country of birth. Because of their immigration status if they aren’t living with us they will get no support from Centrelink, Medicare etc … At least in their country they would get the same supports they would here in Australia in the foster system and they would be able to access supports when they leave school they will not get here.
04-08-2018 03:04 PM
Hi there @jdbza wow what an incredibly long journey for yourself and the family. I am definitely hearing a lot of pain in your post, as well as the fear of the unknown; the constant reassessing with the services etc. I am glad you have the church counsellor to provide support, that's really proactive of you to manage your own self-care during this experience. Feeling like your entire being has come into question is a very disjointed place to sit, so well done on opening up and reaching out here to connect.
Did any of the services give you a list of supports/advocates as you are dealing with this process? In terms of other supports in addition to your church counsellor, there's Parentline as well as LegalAid. I mention legalaid as they may have some advice around an advocacy service during this process (or something similar).
How is your relationship with the child at the moment? You mention you still talk regularly - how are you two connecting? I am sorry about the death of your two children, you sound very tough indeed. Are you able to manage some down time at the moment for your own self-care, walks on the beach, yoga or similar?
04-08-2018 03:34 PM
No, we’ve had no one advocating for us at all. I hadn’t thought of Legal Aid - I’ll look them up. The things I have found have been through hours and days spent on the internet looking for anything that might help. Our child’s case is too complicated for Headspace and we have been trying to get DoCS to do a referral to the CYMHS which never happened. The school at our request made one and then a mental health worker who came out the last time they called an ambulance and the police (where our child is currently living) when our child was acting out did make one but it was to the CYMHS in the town she is currently in which will means they will have to transfer to the one in our town if DoCS let our child return home.
Our child calls me and happily chats away to me on the phone about all the days activities etc most days. I have seen them once since they left our care and they have refused to see me since. They didn’t want to celebrate their birthday with us so they spent it in the care facility where they are currently staying.
We have 3 of our adult children living with us which for us is an awesome arrangement. For us it’s like we live with 3 flatmates who we just happen to be related to. They have been reminding me to take time for myself and I have started doing again the things I didn’t realised I had stopped doing in the last 3 years. I also have my own psychologist I see although she is currently on medical leave until July. Being realistic I know I have to find a new ‘normal’ as it doesn’t matter if our child returns home or not - the life we had has changed considerably. If our child (in Year 9) returns they are only allowed to attend school for half days for the foreseeable future. If they can manage to behave themselves and not get suspended again then at the 5th week of the school term we meet to see if everything is working. If not then we will need to look for another school for them to attend. The school has told us if our child is suspended again it will be for 30 days. Our child’s current suspension is a Level 2 which means they can not attend any state school or state school function until the 18th of April. We totally understand the school’s position and do not believe taking our child’s behaviour into consideration that they are out of place. The only thing we can’t quite believe is that the parents of the 3 teenagers that our child has assaulted have not pressed any charges of assault against our child.
04-09-2018 11:48 AM
You are certainly going through a difficult time with all of this. But am sure you will survive it because your posts indicate that you have been through so much past turmoil and have managed these times with a lot of inner strength. It is good that you have a Spiritual foundation because, at times like this, these beliefs and supports can be your rock.
Firstly, its wonderful that you are reaching out in this forum. I have found it really beneficial with my own teens issues and so I hope you find some solace too.
Secondly, its great that you are taking positive action for yourself namely with your church and your three adult children. Is it possible for you to see another psychologist until your own one returns from leave? Just for extra support whilst you are going through this crisis? How do you get on with your husband? Do you manage to spend any time together away from the family?
Through everything that you are going through try and stay calm with it all. I know that can be easier said than done but if you can just focus on all the good things you have done for your family and remain strong with that knowledge. Things shall eventually fall into place......its just messy at the moment. You are a survivor and thats evident by you having a child lose their life plus parenting disabled children. If you can get through that then you'll get through this too.
04-09-2018 02:59 PM
Hey @jdbza, I have to start by saying what a loving, giving, patient and compassionate mum and human being you are. You have been through so much and yet continue on with an open heart and have taken in a child that needs loads of love and guidance. I can only imagine your hurt, shock and frustration over what has happened and how it's being handled by DoCs.
I cannot fathom how they can conclude that you telling this child that they are loved and supported unconditionally has caused the child trauma and is the reason the child is acting up! From the sounds, you've been a family that has given the child the best environment they've had, after a troubled home life then so many placements. I'd actually make a complaint about being told that, because I think it's such a harmful and unproductive thing for them to say. We had DoCs involvement years ago with my daughter, and before they had even looked into anything else, I was told by the team manager that my daughter's issues were my fault and due to my bad parenting. My daughter actually has complex mental health issues after being sexually assaulted. I made a complaint and she was taken off our case and I received an official apology from DoCs. Our new worker was fantastic, so it can be a matter of who is on the team.
I'm so glad you've been cleared of the allegations, but am so sorry you've been through this awful experience. I'm wondering if your local member of parliament might be able to do anything for you? It might be worth contacting them with your situation and seeing what they come back with? I've had assistance from our local member with school issues a few years ago, and found them really helpful.
It's a definitely an upside that the doors of CYMHS have now opened - our counsellor from CYMHS has been a wonderful source of support and advocacy for us. They can hopefully work with you to keep the child at home (I love that you want them "home where they belong").
I just don't have the words to say how amazing you are and I think this teen is so lucky to have you on their side, through thick and thin. It's not easy, it's exhausting but our struggling kids needs adults who don't give up on them and can see past the poor behaviours.