A judge in a rural town said she had no hesitation in granting extended rights to foster parents and that it was her pleasure to do so.
The Child Care (Amendment) Act 2007 amended section 43 of the Child Care Act 1991 by adding section 43A which allows foster parents who had fostered a child for over five years to apply to the courts for an order granting the foster parents extended rights. These rights included such things as allowing the foster parents to consent to medical treatment. If foster parents applied for this order they must have informed the Child and Family Agency (CFA) and the parents of the child.
In this case a primary school aged child, who was the subject of a full care order, had lived with the foster parents for over five years. The foster parents had applied to the court for extended rights. The solicitor for the CFA informed the court they supported the application and that the parents of the child had been correctly informed of it.
The parents of the child were not in court and there was no legal representation on their behalf.
The foster mother gave evidence to the judge that she had completed all the correct forms, had informed the CFA and the parents of the child as directed by the rules in the legislation. The judge was informed the child was doing very well, was settled and a normal little girl.
Granting the order, the judge said: “It was [the judge’s] pleasure to grant this order and that people like you [the foster parent’s] make the system work. You and your husband are to be commended.”