Loddon Campaspe CLC’s Child Protection Legal Service helps people with child protection matters at courts in Bendigo, Echuca, Kerang, Swan Hill, Kyneton, Castlemaine and Maryborough, and at VCAT in Melbourne.
The service addresses priority clients’ complex and interrelated family and children’s law issues by providing targeted, timely and continuous services through a mixed model of service delivery. As a holistic service, our Lawyers encourage and support clients with referrals to other local services (legal and nonlegal) that can help them address underlying issues.
The service is a pilot program funded by Victoria Legal Aid (VLA), who were keen to explore the potential for greater community legal centre involvement in child protection matters. Loddon Campaspe CLC and Women’s Legal Services Victoria were the two community legal centres selected to participate in the program, which runs from October 2015 until June 2017.
The service employs two Lawyers who assist with emergency applications and Duty Lawyer appearances, as well as providing advice and ongoing casework for clients who have interrelated family and children’s law issues. The Lawyers also deliver legal education around child protection matters to services and other community stakeholders.
Most referrals to the service are from VLA. However, some flow from existing relationships Loddon Campaspe CLC has with other local service providers. Sometimes these referrals allow our service to assist before there is intervention by Child Protection Services.