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Patrick H.
Patrick H., Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 5422
Experience:  Dip Law LPAB - Sydney based lawyer
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I would like some advice on obtaining full custody of my

Customer Question

Hello I would like some advice on obtaining full custody of my niece who is currently living at a foster home for uniting Burnside foster care. My niece has expressed to me she is frightened by the woman that is currently caring for her. she has told me that she drinks comes home abusive has threten to slap in the face. I have spoken with Burnside care about this yesterday the response is not something that I was happy with I ended the call to call the police for for safety my niece. My niece begged me not to do so. because she's told me that would put her in further danger if this woman finds out. Burnside did call the woman who is caring for my niece and my niece and told her that I intend to call the police and speak with a solicitor to get some legal advice. This resulted in my Neice being confronted by the carer. I'm extremely concerned about my Neice and urgently seek advice thank you .
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for your question.

Can you elaborate on the circumstances which lead to your niece being in foster care?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My sister has three children ages 23,14,13. My sister abandoned all three of her children. My sister had custody of the first child until she was five the second child until she was two and the third child she never had custody of. I had custody of the eldest for ten years till she went live with her father. The other two children live with their fathers sister (aunt) until recently the 14yr old is most affected by her mothers abandonment and her and The aunt had a falling out which resulted in the 14-year-old asking Burnside care to find her another place to live i've never had a problem with the care the father's sister provides I've always been given access I could see the girls, call the girls when ever I chose. This is not the case with the new caregiver I have no access she has been told by her case worker I cannot call her my niece has started cutting herself it is very hard when she calls me on the phone asking for my help and I am powerless to do anything
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for your question.

Was no effort made to place the child with another family member, such as yourself? Is there any reason that you weren't considered as suitable?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The current care giver is a relative of the aunt to what degree im not sure (maybe second cousin or related by marriage) burnside has never contacted me or my mother regarding this. The aunt has taken the girls to visit with the current 14 yr old caregiver many times and I've heard the girls tell me some stories about what goes on over there it seems very lapsed and unsupervised environment I did have a concern with this and expressed to the aunt but I did trust her supervision. I believe the 14yr old wanted to live there for that reason but the current caregiver is not able to handle a child of abuse. As for me I'm currently a caregiver for my father who has a terminal asbestos related cancer I own my own home I am stable I do not use drugs I have a theft charge obtain money by deception many years ago that is all. my Neice that I raised will say she never experienced any abuse from me and is now full functioning adult in the world
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for your question.

If your niece wants to live with you then I would think an application for custody may have very good prospects of succeeding. The courts decide such matters based on the best objective interests of the child, and whilst a child's preference is not decisive, as children get older their preferences have greater weight, and a fourteen year old's preferences will be considered seriously, and in conjunction with some of the other issues you have indicated, the court may well defer to the sensible preferences of the child.

I would strongly recommend you engage a family lawyer pursue such an application if you want custody, and based on what you have said, the prospects of succeeding appear good.

I trust the above assists.