Ruah’s innovative Care and Protection Service has received an overwhelmingly positive response from the vulnerable families it has supported in its first year. Launched in September 2020, the Care and Protection Service was the first program of its kind in WA to provide wrap-around legal and social support and advocacy to families facing child protection proceedings.
We know that families involved with child protection proceedings are often experiencing multiple, co-occuring non-legal issues with the most common factors associated with the removal of children being family violence, parental substance abuse, and parental mental illness.
The need for quality, holistic support for these families is great. Our Care and Protection service brings together a lawyer and a community case worker in a team to provide wrap-around support to a client throughout their proceedings. The service adopts an early intervention approach providing intense advocacy in the early stages of Care and Protection proceedings, and then ongoing support right up until the end of their matter.
We surveyed early users of the service who engaged the Care and Protection team between 1 September 2020 and 31 December 2021 and the results have been published in an Interim Evaluation Snapshot.
Of 61 clients assisted with 2,515 hours of legal work and 2,510 hours of psychosocial support 95% agreed that having access to both legal and social support has been valuable.
86% of clients felt that as a result of this service their voice had been heard in their Care and Protection matters. And 86% said that they felt more hopeful for the future.
Quotes from our clients say it all:
“Before Ruah Legal Services I thought my life was completely destroyed. You have given me hope that I can get through this and get my kids.”
“(If I had not engaged with Ruah Legal Services) I would have run away and never looked back. I would have never seen my kids again. “