"It appears to me that the information provided was not correct."

About: DCCSDS Brisbane Region

(as a parent/guardian),

My child has been in the care of the Child Safety Department for a few years now. My child is currently living with a carer on a full time basis with full time reunification back to the other parent about to start.

A few months ago, the other parent and I went to court to consent to our child's latest order from the Child Safety Department. They were seeking a two year order where full time reunification back to a parent, was the goal. The other parent and I decided to agree to the order during the court conference and then we proceeded to court in front of the magistrate.

Whilst there, I believe our Senior Team Leader, submitted false and misleading information to the magistrate, about the other parent's current partner, with whom this parent resides.

The team leader claims that they did not lie to the magistrate, however I believe they committed a damning act by submitting information to the magistrate, that the Team Leader knew was not accurate.

This person submitted to court, that the other parent's partner posed a risk to children and that the other parent was not to allow our child to have contact with them because of this risk.

However, just moments before we presented at court, during a court conference to discuss this order, I seem to recall the team leader openly admitted in front of the court convener, myself, my lawyer, the other parent and the other parent's lawyer, that the said partner no longer posed a risk to children. That the team leader had read the report from the partner's Psychologist, that the partner clearly had worked very hard to get to where they were now and that the department have no concerns about the partner at the present time.

Unfortunately however, the team leader did not submit this information to the magistrate. Instead, the team leader submitted old information that was no longer accurate or relevant to our case at the time the team leader presented to court. The team leader did not share this new information that they spoke about during the court conference with the magistrate when they should have. The team leader did not provide a copy of the Psychologist report to the court when they should have.

I believe that as a direct result of these actions and what I believe are the false submissions, our child's current order now states that our child is not to have any contact with the other parent's partner, even though the team leader has read the report from the psychologist that apparently states that the partner poses a very minimal risk of harm to children.

The other parent's partner is also currently being reunified with their children and has sought therapy to improve in order to be able to achieve this. The parent's partner is also currently working with (Act for Kids) to help with their own reunification of their children. The Department is aware of this. If the partner was still really a risk, then why are they being reunified back with their own children but they're not being allowed to have contact with ours?

When I asked the team leader about what I believe was the false and misleading information they submitted to court, they claimed that they did not lie. The team leader also claims that they will not act to rectify this until the other parent's partner starts overnight contact with their own children. The team leader says that once this starts, they will then go back to court to have our child's order fixed so that it will state that the partner can have contact with our child.

I do not believe this is right. I feel the team leader is doing it this way so that they can avoid taking any responsibility for their actions. I think the team leader is planning to do it this way, so that all they have to say to the magistrate when they goes back to court is that the parent's partner now has overnight contact with their own children, so now they can obviously have contact with ours as well and the magistrate will then change the order accordingly, without knowing what the team leader did.

It seems to me, that the team leader will not inform the magistrate of their mistake or apologise for it.  This I believe will mean that the team leader's mistake will not be on record with Child Safety, and I believe this matter will most likely go on without being properly investigated. I don't believe the team leader will face disciplinary action due to their avoidance to admit their mistake or to try to rectify this.

It seems to me that the team leader is refusing to provide a copy of the psychologist report to the court even though the other parent's partner has given consent for it to be released, as I believe it shows that they are safe to care for children.

I am appalled that anyone from Child Safety could submit what I believe to be false and misleading information to a magistrate and allow that information to form part of a court record, especially more so being from a Senior Team Leader.

I feel that what the team leader did was illegal, and think this person should be forced to face an immediate investigation and disciplinary action, as lying to a court is an offence under the law. Providing false and/or misleading information to court is an offence.

I think this person and their actions need to be investigated. The magistrate needs to be informed of what happened so that our record with the court reflects the truth as it is today.

If people do not speak up about things like this, the system will never change for the better. I am speaking up because changes need to be made to make this system better for people like me. We deserve better than this.

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Responses

Response from Wayne Briscoe, Strategy, Engagement and Communication, Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services

Dear Returning child

Thank you for providing this information. Whilst I am unable to comment on this matter due to confidentiality issues, departmental officers are eager to work through the concerns that have been raised to achieve a better outcome.

I would like to invite you to contact Ms Sharon Khan, Acting Senior Advisor, Child Safety, Brisbane Regional Office, should you wish to discuss these issues further. Ms Khan can be contacted on phone 3109 7007.

Kind regards

Wayne

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