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Child welfare advice/info?

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    Has anyone had to get involved with child protective services that can give me any advice.

    For a long while now my husbands sister has had many issues, which in her defense begins with 10 years of abuse at the hand of her step-father. (which has only been uncovered in the last 2 1/2 years)

    Without having to get into that too much things are still going down hill. She has struggled with drugs for years, but until now still managed to keep a small part of herself.

    She is now with an abuse partner who keeps moving them around and they are currently being kicked out of a caravan park and she has quit her job. (they have been kicked out of atleast 10 places in the last 2 years for domestic abuse and generally thinking they own the place and having no respect)

    Peter (my husband) has been an incredible guy. He’s done whatever he can for her, bailed her out of situations, given her money ect…. but there is now a point where its taking away from us. He is trying to let go, but he’s torn.

    She has become a user who doesn’t care about any of the things that were important to her. She takes and expects. And now she has a 5 month old child to her partner, and lost her job, and after calling around to the landlord to try and see where she is and if she is ok we are told they are being kicked out, she has a black eye and the baby is screaming.

    We have offered our home to her and the baby, but not to the partner (we have a child and I am expecting my second, we cannot have him here) but they dont want to split up and they are now in hiding from us (they “lose” their phones and move without notice)

    We are scared they are going to drop off the face of the earth and something is going to happen to her or this baby… But she will not leave him.

    It has come to a point where we feel the need to contact some kind of authority. But we will not have a residential address or phone number for these people. And we will be the bad guys in the family because everyone else just like to gossip about the drama and watch it unfold.

    This has been very very hard on my husband. He lost someone he considered to be his father, feels as though 20 years of his life is a lie. And now feels helpless in helping his sister.

    One thing (please don’t ask why we haven’t done something earlier, because it is a very complicated situation that I can’t even begin to try to explain properly here like this. It is just massive.) And Pete has just been trying to hold onto some small shred of his sister being a decent human being.

    I hope this makes some kind of sense. I don’t even know if I should post.. I just don’t think I can get the situation across.

    But anyway here goes. Maybe if I spit it out it will take a small weight off of my shoulders.

    (it’s really hard even thinking about this when I have the most beautiful boy sitting in front of me and am sick with the other one in my tummy 🙁 )


    We are at the point where pete is probably going to try and talk to someone about options and how to get the ball rolling.


    Oh debby-lee, I don’t have any advice, but I wanted to offer my sympathy. it must be jusy awful. You need to relax for the sake of your baby, but of course you can’t with all this stress. :hug::hug:


    Ring the Dept of Child Safety on the following freecall number: 1800 811 810

    Domestic violence is a form of child abuse, even when the child is not hit but witnesses the abuse. Because the child is under 12 months, the Dept must investigate. Homelessness and drug abuse are other reasons for a notification. Tell them EVERYTHING you know. Ask for the case worker to contact you. Tell them how much involvement in caring for the child you are willing to have. The Dept will find them through Centrelink or Residential Tenancies (assuming they lodged a bond and want it back), phone companies, etc.

    You are doing the right thing.



    Thanks Anja. It feels like whenever we are supposed to be happy and getting on with out lives something comes up to knock us down a peg or 2. (sometimes I feel guilty for being “selfish” and just wishing people could sort their own lives out)

    It’s just hard to watch my husbands heart break over and over again (as dramatic as that sounds)

    deee- Yep I’ve got that number, and I’ve got one for a local center too. I will be having a proper talk to pete tonight. I think it would be better for him to talk as he is better at holding back the emotions when he needs to and it is his sister (and he will remember all of the details better)

    There is def drug use, domestic violence. They aren’t currently getting the dole or anything (they try to avoid official bodies, and the baby payments just go into a bank account) and the caravan they are in was just a last minute drop in that happened to work out for them. There would have been no bond. But still, we are bound to hear something along the grape vine to help them. I’m hoping she turns up at our door soon because as far as I know they have exhausted all of their options.

    He has another child who I think is around 4 now, that he has no access to. So there should be some kind of record of that at least.

    I guess it’s not really advice I am looking for just.. something.

    The last thing we have ever wanted to do is hurt her, she has had her fair share, but now obviously there is an innocent little boy involved.

    I guess by putting it out there I am just trying to be ok with doing this.

    But they are beyond anything else we can do for them, and are unwilling to try and change things. They rather just run and lie.


    Debby-Lee this sounds very similar to my brother and his partners story. Years of drug mis-use, violence, deception. Both he and his partner have drug ‘issues’. They have two daughters between them and she has a son from a previous relationship. The last baby was born 10wks prem due to drug use by the mother. Heartache not only for them, but for us, the family… the ones who stand by with a broken heart, powerless to help, grieving for the person we once knew… who is in there somewhere, absolutely shattered and broken and sick and tired of dealing with one crisis after another.

    I even did a social work degree, thinking naively and stupidly that I could save my brother. I could fix the world.

    They’ll get new phones, they will contact again, because they will ‘need’ you, or want something from you. So hold tight and you will have contact details again. Maybe your hubby could contact the local care agencies in the area, such as the salvos, st vinnies and anglicare etc, as they usually offer emergency accommodation, food packages etc. They may have seen or heard from his sister.

    I did a six month prac for Dept of Community Development, (which is the child protection service over here in WA.) You’d be amazed at their database, and how it is linked in with so many community organisations, so you could probably call them and lodge your concerns, then call when you have more details. Otherwise you can always wait to find out where they are, and then contact Community Services and register a “Child Concern Report”. They’ll investigate after assessing the situation.

    Sadly, it’s often people like your sister-in-law, and my brother who fall through the cracks… There’s so much more horrible stuff going on out there, and ‘neglect’ of children from people with drug mis use issues is SUCH a common thing nowdays, that often only the worst of the worst cases get the appropriate intervention.

    In the last year, my mum and the mother of my brother’s partner, both went to Community services and pleaded for them to intervene for the sake of the children (who were left by themselves for hours on end, not fed properly, washed or clothed properly, left with all manner of people, not supervised and seeing things they just shouldn’t have been exposed to, including violence, drug use, crime etc etc

    Of course my brother and his partner can spin bullshite with the best of ’em, and said everything was fine. They went and investigated and said that their case load was just so big, that they couldn’t take any more cases on, and on the day they had visited the kids and parents seemed OK!

    My husband (who is in your position) often said it was like I had another ‘man in my life’, because when my brother rang, I would drop everything and go to his aid. I had been doing this for soooo many years, just trying to keep him alive! Classic co-dependency! It took its toll on our relationship and my family. Eventually I just had to let go… My heart still aches, and that will NEVER go, but physically, I had to be there for my family, for my own little children… I couldn’t do both.

    The one thing my studies and my personal experience has taught me, is that, as a family member standing by…. until the person with the drug issues WANTS TO CHANGE… until the BAD OUTWEIGHS THE GOOD, then no amount of wanting, begging, pleading with them to change helps.

    They’ll change when they’re ready… when THEY are ready, not when we want them to.

    Unfortunately it’s their journey… and I really feel for you when I hear of yours and your husbands heartbreak.

    There’s some great support groups out there for relatives and friends of drug mis-users. I was so surprised to hear how many stories were so similar to my own. It’s really beneficial to be in a supportive environment, hear other people’s stories, tell your own, and glean some strategies to help you cope with the day to day ‘logistics’ of dealing with a family member with problematic drug use.

    Sorry I’ve gone on and on. I really, deeply feel for you, and am sending the brightest of blessings to you.

    I hope you find some respite, find some relief, and for all yours sakes, can get some resolution to the issue.

    love Erthgirl x


    Thank you Erthgirl. I think your post is pretty much what I was looking for without realizing it. (crying my guts out, but I think in a good way:) )

    You can word it so much better then me.

    I completely get the having another “man in your life” comment. I am so glad Peter is the person he is but he is going to kill himself if he can’t let this go. He has this huge cloud of guilt for something that he can’t change. He knows he needs to try to let go. It is something we are working on. But I think we need to get past this last hump before he can be completely free of his feeling of responsibility.

    I think you are right. I am hoping its as easy as mum and baby turning up at our door. But if we have to wait it out we will.

    Thank you so much for “going on and on” It is so draining to try and explain something so complex. And you did it so well.

    I think you are a wonderful person for your efforts. I have come to notice that a lot of people in our case are just sitting around having a gossip and not willing to actually do anything. It takes a special person to keep on trying. That is a big part of what I love about my husband but also something incredibly frustrating too 🙂

    Thank you for taking the time with your response :hug:



    I agree – you cannot change other person’s behaviour – only they can and when they’re ready they will – it may be soon or it may be later or, hopefully not however, even never. Just let it go and be ready to assist when they ASK for appropriate help, not just this or that to tide them over.

    It is always so hard when domestic violence and drug use are involved.

    :hug: Stay strong – you can do it.


    I hope things work out for the best. Lots of :hug::hug:


    Debby-lee, you don’t need this at the moment (or ever). I have removed myself from everyone in our families that cause me serious grief because I know I deserve to live a peaceful existence and I will not allow people to take advantage of me (anymore).

    I’m sorry you are going through this. :hug:


    debby-lee …

    I know this is gonna sound strange, but …

    If you open your house to the entire sister-family … and then banish the abusive partner (legally banish him, the very first time he messes things up) … your partner will be in a strong position to make the whole thing stick.

    I don’t think I actually recommend this approach, given your younglings ages … but it was the only last-ditch option I could think of.

    You have my sympathies, if nothing else.

    PS. The QLD, especially the fnq version, of child protection, is fairly inefficient (have reli’s and foster-friends up that way).


    It might also be useful for Peter to see a counsellor also – if he has come out of the same family situation whether or not he was aware of problems, there are going to be issues coming to the surface for him that will be no help to him, his sister or your own family – he really needs professional support during this process as much as the SIL does. So do encourage him to seek advice and support. Having come from a pretty disfunctional family (though in a quite different way) I know just how insidious those early lessons can be in our response to adult challenges – he needs to be able to recognise when his response is a programmed response and when it is a legitimate one. Guilt and a sense of responsibility for his sister is as much a programmed response as a reasoned one. She is an adult and making her own choices. It is tragic, and it is all the more tragic because there is now a small child. But ultimately the decisions for her lifestyle are her own. Not yours, not Peter’s. Just her own. Sounds hard, I know, but if you can start from this premise then you can actually be a lot more effective in supporting her to a healthier life choice …:hug:


    Thinking of you and DH :hug::hug::hug:


    Thanks everyone.

    Gianna– We are very very close to removing ourselves also. We are thinking about moving to the coast (where Dh works) and getting a bit of distance from everyone so we can look after ourselves for a while. Hopefully within the next couple of years.

    The older I get the less inclined I am to just keep going along with stuff that drags us down.

    ma- we have considered this also. It’s just that DH works nearly 2 hours away, so I would be spending all day with someone that I don’t trust. And he is very paranoid and strange at times. (there was an incident where he threatened pete with weapons at one stage) So yeah I’m not in a position to risk it. But I do see where you were going with that.

    hillbilly girl – We have pretty much come to the conclusion that counselling would be a good idea. Originally we wanted everyone to go. But that just isn’t going to happen and Pete is having issues with things. Where possible he has been talking to people about things but not yet anyone official.

    Things are sounding pretty grim in terms of usefulness of child protective services. This was one of our original fears and we were worried about scaring them off by talking to authorities. But we are getting to the stage where there is nothing to lose anymore – they are hiding from anyone who might see bruises or red eyes.


    now do I tell Pete I’m blabbing everything all over the net? 😛

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