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Child protection duty lawyer

The child protection duty lawyer may be able to help on your court date for child protection matters before the Childrens Court.

The child protection duty lawyer can give free basic legal help to people who don't have a lawyer and haven't received legal advice before going to court.

Find out when the  child protection duty lawyer is available.

The child protection duty lawyer can only help you on your specific court date. If you need help before or after your court date, contact Legal Aid Queensland, a community legal centre or get a private lawyer.

Getting help from the child protection duty lawyer

The child protection duty lawyer is a free lawyer who may be able to help you if you’re appearing in court for a child protection matter.

The child protection duty lawyer may not necessarily appear with you in court (unless you have a specific need), but they can still help by:

  • discussing your situation and options available to you
  • giving you free legal information and advice
  • explaining what will happen in court
  • helping you fill out court forms and documents (for your court date)
  • discussing your eligibility for aid and helping with your legal aid application
  • referring you to other organisations who may be able to help

 They can't:

  • represent people in child protection trials
  • take on casework.

You don't have to book to see the child protection duty lawyer, but you should check if they're available at the court you're attending on your court date. If you need legal help, you should arrive early to the court (on your court date) and ask to see the child protection duty lawyer.

Note: The child protection duty lawyer can only help on the day you're appearing in court. For example, if your court date is on a Tuesday, you can't get help from the duty lawyer before Tuesday. They can't help if your matter isn't listed in the court on that specific day.

Make sure you bring all your court documents with you. Without them, the child protection duty lawyer can only give you limited help.

Let the child protection duty lawyer know if you need extra help—for example, if you've experienced domestic or family violence, or you need an interpreter, have difficulty reading or writing or have a disability.

Child protection duty lawyer service schedule

Child protection duty lawyers are available in the Cairns, Townsville, Brisbane, Southport, Maroochydore, Caboolture, Ipswich, Toowoomba, Pine Rivers, Beenleigh and Rockhampton Childrens Courts.

Court locations and child protection duty lawyer schedule

Childrens Court location

Days duty lawyer service is available

Cairns

Thursday

Townsville

Thursday

Brisbane

Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday

Southport

Thursday

Maroochydore

Wednesday (fortnightly)

Caboolture

Thursday

Ipswich

Monday

Toowoomba

Thursday

Pine Rivers

Friday

Beenleigh

Tuesday

Rockhampton Monday

Get legal advice

While the child protection duty lawyer may be able to help on your court date, we may also be able to give you legal advice and help with child protection matters, including advice if:

  • you’re under 18 and need information about family law or child protection (as a child or a parent)
  • you’ve been invited to attend a family group meeting
  • you are unhappy with a case plan prepared by Child Safety
  • Child Safety is investigating alleged harm relating to your child
  • Child Safety wants you to sign a care agreement
  • Child Safety wants to take your child into custody
  • Child Safety applying for an assessment order
  • Child Safety is applying for a child protection order
  • you or your child want to appeal against a child protection order
  • you are unhappy with a decision Child Safety has made about how they care for your child, a decision about where your child lives or what contact your child has with members of their family
  • your child is under a child protection order and you are trying to get them back
  • you think your child is at risk of abuse in Child Safety’s care but they won't help.

Contact us for help.

The following organisations may also be able to help.

Community legal centres give legal advice on a range of topics. Contact them to find out if they can help with your matter.

Queensland Law Society can refer you to a specialist private lawyer for advice or representation.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (ATSILS) — may be able to give legal representation and advice on family law matters for Indigenous people.

Queensland Indigenous Family Violence Legal Services give legal and counselling services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples suffering from the direct and indirect effects of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Who else can help?

The following organisations may be able to help. They don’t give legal advice.

Office of the Public Guardian is an independent body, working to protect the rights and interests of children and young people in out-of-home care (foster care, kinship care), residential care, youth detention and other supported accommodation. They will give children in out-of-home care advice and help with mediating disputes and making complaints.

CREATE Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation helping to empower children and young people placed in or leaving out-of-home care including those who are:

  • unable to live with their birth parents
  • living in foster care
  • living with relatives
  • living in the community
  • living in a group home
  • living independently.

Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services  is responsible for receiving and investigating reports of alleged harm or risk of alleged harm to any child under 18. If at the end of an investigation they are satisfied the child is in need of protection and needs ongoing help, they will work with the child and family to make sure your child is safe.

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal can review some decisions made by the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.

Queensland Family and Child Commission has expert oversight of Queensland's child protection system and partners with other government and non-government agencies to ensure best practice services are being delivered for the families and children of Queensland.

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