Teenager returns to foster family following section 47 application by foster parents and GAL; thanks court for intervention – 2023vol2#31

A judge in a rural town shared the contents of a card she had received from a teenager with the Child Law Project reporter, in the card the teenager thanked the court for hearing her voice.

This matter concerned a teenager who had been removed from a long-term foster placement against the teenager’s wishes. The foster carers, along with the guardian ad litem (GAL), had initiated a section 47 application to have the teenager returned to the care of the foster carers. Section 47 of the Child Care Act 1991 permits a judge to make directions about the general welfare of a child that would be in their best interests.

There was no reporter available for the earlier hearing, but the court was informed that the teenager was now back with her foster carers. The solicitor on behalf of the Child and Family Agency (CFA) said they were committed to ensuring the teenager remained with these foster parents.

The judge said she would formally grant the section 47 application and was in awe of the dedication the foster carers had shown to the teenager. The solicitor for the GAL handed to the judge a card that the teenager had asked to be passed to the judge.

The judge shared this card with the reporter from the Child Law Project. The card was handmade and included the following comments: “Thank you for hearing my voice and giving me a chance … for not judging me on my family’s way of life.” The teenager ended the card with the following comments: “You’ve helped me and the rest of my teen years in ways you may not even know.”