Sometimes we receive referrals that state “Father Unknown”, and when this is explored in a meeting with the agencies we have been told “The father is unknown, he isn’t on the birth certificate, he hasn’t seen the child for 8 years, he hasn’t made contact”.

According to everyone so far the Father is unknown.

Throughout last year I worked with many children & young people who were referred to us in relation to Therapeutic Life Story Work.

Whilst we have some set documents we require as part of this work, the information we receive from agencies is always in different formats and often not complete. In these cases, the NGO seeks the missing information from the department.

Sometimes we receive referrals that state “Father Unknown”, and when this is explored in a meeting with the agencies we have been told “The father is unknown, he isn’t on the birth certificate, he hasn’t seen the child for 8 years, he hasn’t made contact”.

It seems that the above reasons mean no one is willing to explore this further.

In three of our referrals last year we were told some of the above reasons about the birth father. One was for twin boys who wanted to know who their father was and were curious as to why no one would tell them.

When I began the information banking and reading files and files of case notes, there was one case note that stated something along the lines of (cannot provide exact wording due to privacy & names have been changed).

“Jessica told Constable John that the man she has been living with for 6 years is the father of the children and he reside at (address)”.

This information was documented on the file of the twins at the time of removal, before 9 years of foster care notes were written.

I find myself asking “if this information was documented then, why was this not followed up at the time to identify if this named man is the birth father?”

When the mother was asked multiple times from the disclosure day she continued to state, “I have provided these details once before and I can’t have this conversation again”.

She is incredibly traumatised from the relationship she had with this man and was told she only needed to provide the details once.

So what did we do?

We submitted a chapter 16A (NSW)to the appropriate parties in relation to the name, address and DOB provided over 9 years ago in one case note. Following this information was provided to us and we were able to find a more recent address. We wrote a letter to this person asking them to contact us and we also reached out on social media to someone who matched these details. We received no reply on Facebook however we did receive an email reply from the letter we sent. As a result, these young boys are aware of the search for their biological father and DNA testing has been agreed to. The mother is also aware and is feeling comfortable with this occurring.

All of this has stemmed from one nine-year-old case note that we took the time to read through and follow up. And now these boys have a link to their birth father who they were forever told was “UNKNOWN”.

We offer information banking for our referrals as it takes dedication to piece the story and puzzle together. There are times when the C/YP just is not ready to be told their story. But as a result of our information banking – the information is there for them when tor they are.

Shannon-

Wishing someone would tell me who my dad is.