Australia is branded as the child stealing capital of the Western world. Authorities steal around 2272 children per million (2016 figures). Alarmingly that number is increasing at a rate of around 100% every 10 years and has been doing so since 1998.
What this means in effect is that for every ten years, the number of children that are stolen increases at a rate of 100% more than the previous ten years. This growth in child stealing is occuring at a rate massively outpacing the growth in Australia’s population.
So why are we branded as a nation of child stealers? The term comes from what can only be regarded as extremely agressive and heavy handed tactics by state authorities to keep children safe. Each state has its own Department of Child Protection, or Community Services. They are named differently in each state but all essentially have the same function and rely on state based legislation that is similar across the board. The objective is to ensure that children are not abused and neglected and that parents are given the resources (services) that they need in order to raise their children in a manner where they are provided every opportunity to flourish and thrive. The reality however has become something much different.
No one would argue that all children have a right to a safe, loving and nurturing childhood with every opportunity to reach their full potential. Sometimes, however, some parents are not capable of providing the best. There are a number of reasons for this such as homelessness, mental health issues, little or no parenting capacity, drug abuse, domestic violence etc. This is what the Departments of Child Protection are there to help with. The very name Family and Community Services suggests a Department who provides help. However, these Departments have massively over extended their reach and purpose, and have now become, for want of any better description, massive multi-billion dollar businesses built on fraud and deception. Instead of helping children, they are helping themeselves to children. I want to show some of the most common ways this fraud and deception is taking place.
The whole child protection system is built using smoke and mirrors, a term that means “the obscuring or embellishing of the truth of a situation with misleading or irrelevant information”. In fact, it is The Crown that is misleading the public, because it is The Crown that controls the entire situation. The following is a brief rundown of the entities involved with this deception. It will become clear how they work together over the series of the next few articles.
Our constitution provides for three “branches” of government:
The purpose of these branches is to supposedly separate the power so that it’s not vested in only one a few hands. The theory is that the legislation is drafted and debated in the parliament, once it’s passed it is executed by the cabinet via the various portfolios, and if there are any disputes then they are handled by the judiciary.
One problem! All three branches of government are run by the same corporation, The Crown. Can you seriously believe that each branch of government is independent? I don’t think so. After all, the judiciary are appointed by the Executive branch so surely must do their bidding.
In each state, we have a number of Acts that are used for the purposes of determining care and protection of children (link provided in references). However, there are more legal concepts that are not as readily found in legislation. I’m going to cover 3 concepts here because all 3 form the basis for how children are stolen by the state.
Parens Patriae is a legal doctrine that originated, it is thought, around the 15th century, and has made it’s way into our laws via English colonisation. Quite simply, the concept means “parent of the fatherland”. It enables the state to intervene and become the responsible carer for those who are unable to look after themselves. Throughout much of the 20th century this included orphans, and the insane. In the 21st century, however, the state seems to have extended the purpose of parens patriae and is intervening much more readily, where it alleges abuse or neglect of children by parents or carers. In effect, I would say that the state has turned protection of its citizens into an industry, and a very lucrative one at that. To be able to argue a case under parens patriae it needs to be done so in the Supreme Court, however the doctrine itself appears to be readily used in care and protection matters in Children’s Courts.
I’m sure you hear the phrase “Australia’s most vulnerable” all the time in the media. And I’m also sure it conjures images of those who are down on their luck and just need a helping hand. Well, I’m about to bust that image. Vulnerability is a concept that is used to steal your children. In fact it’s the first thing that a child protection worker will evaluate. And it’s not what you might think, and also may not be something you can change. The following are all statuses that are regarded as being vulnerable.
A single parent
Of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island decent
People with mental health disorders
People with a disability
Those who are insufficiently educated
Those experiencing socio-economic disadvantage
Those who live remotely
Those who have been incarcerated
People experiencing domestic violence
Drug and alcohol dependence
These are just some examples. There are literally hundreds. I encourage you to Google up various vulnerabilities. Some you will be surprised and shocked at.
Risk of Harm
OK, now this is the all important part. Risk of harm is mentioned in all the child protection Acts in each state throughout Australia. The Department needs to prove risk of harm and it is by using vulnerabilities that they do so. Those who have experienced Child Protection will know that they remove the children first and then build a case around why they removed them. This also is contrary to legislation which states that removal of children must be as a last resort. It never is, it is always the first resort.
Soon after a child is removed, an interim order is obtained through the Children’s Court to enable an investigation to be undertaken. Following this, the family will be invited to a meeting, usually at the Department’s offices. This is essentially a way of discovering the vulnerabilities so that a risk of harm can be fabricated.
There are actually 2 sides to the investigation. Both parent and child need to be assessed as vulnerable and the risk of harm is built from that. For the child it’s not hard, as a child and young person are classified as vulnerable already. So the investigation then moves to the parents.
Let’s say a single mother, on Centrelink, who has just escaped a DV relationship. Bang! Three vulnerabilities immediately. That can easily be built into a risk of harm with some creative story telling by the case workers. And that is precisely what they do. This is why there is rarely any truth to a child protection case and why they are all fabricated.
Let’s say, Mum and Dad living on a farm. Mum doesn’t work but Dad does and earns a very modest income. Mum is experiencing post-natal depression and goes to her GP to get some assistance. Child Protection decide to call one day based on a report from a neighbour stating that they believe the child is not being adequately looked after. The child is taken, an interim order is granted by the court, and Mum and Dad are called into a meeting at the offices. Two vulnerabilities are present to begin with. Living remotely, and mental health. A third would be good so if Dad mentions he likes to have a couple of beers after a hard day’s work, well let’s make him an alcoholic and that will definitely be sufficient to show risk of harm. If not, make out that he perpetrates DV or find and fabricate another vulnerability, perhaps socio-economic disadvantage.
One thing that Department workers love is what they call “cumulative risk of harm”. This is where multiple risks are identified and even better when those risks occur over a number of years. For instance, if a parent has previously been a ward of the state themselves, then perhaps served 6 months in gaol ten years ago, but have subsequently cleaned up their life and done well for themselves, well the risks become cumulative, so another couple of vulnerabilities can be looked for to seal the deal.
I have searched high and low and asked contacts on the inside if there are any tools that the Departments use to determine a risk of harm. There are not. The answer I have always had returned are that an assessment of a risk of harm is always subjective and up to the case worker’s discretion.
This article will be followed soon with an article about what happens when your child is taken into the care of the Department. There are some very interesting twists and turns to be aware of here.
Australia branded “child-stealing capital of the Western world”.
Children in OOHC growth
Care and Protection Acts