Vaccination and family law is in the news. Alliance Family Law is experienced in all family law related immunisation issues. Whatever help you need, feel free to call us on (02) 6223 2400.
Whereas it is not illegal for parents to arrange for vaccination of their children, they are under pressure these days to do so in order for their children to be allowed to attend childcare and access certain Government benefits, under ‘no jab, no play’ policies.
And when in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services, the need to enrol them in such facilities means their carers need to ensure the children are vaccinated. So it was that the Department found itself in dispute with the parents of three Victorian children over the administration of measles vaccinations.
The children, all aged under 5, had been placed in temporary care with the Department. After the children had been in care for a month, the Department discovered the children were unable to attend childcare facilities due to not being immunised, and described them as “at high risk” of catching measles. A Children’s Court order was then obtained by the Department of Health and Human Services allowing it to arrange for the kids’ vaccination.
However, the children’s parents objected to this and attempted to prevent the vaccination occurring through an appeal in the Supreme Court.
Unfortunately for the parents in this case, the appeal was dismissed, with the Supreme Court finding that the Children’s Court magistrate did have the power to make the immunisation decision “in the best interests of the child”.
The court was not required to make any judgment over the merits or otherwise of vaccination. Instead, the appeal was held to determine if the Children’s Court was actually empowered to order that the children be immunised. It was the parents’ argument that magistrates should not have the power to make long-term, irreversible decisions on the health and welfare of children who are in temporary placements in state care, under interim accommodation orders.
But the appeal court found no error in law had been made and therefore the magistrate’s decision was upheld.
Although this appeal centred on the question of whether the Children’s Court magistrate had the power to order immunisation in cases where children are in temporary state care, in most cases where we see immunisation as an issue in family law, it is a dispute between parents who philosophically disagree over immunisation. Based on the case law, in line with current medical evidence, in those situations it is also likely that family courts will consider it to be in a child’s best interests to allow them to be immunised, and therefore will make orders that immunisation takes place.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
Do you have questions about immunisation and family law? Alliance Family Law is experienced in all family law related immunisation issues. Whatever help you need, feel free to call Canberra family lawyer Cristina Huesch or one of our other experienced solicitors here at Alliance Family Law on 02 6223 2400 for an initial no-obligation, cost-free consultation.
Please note that our blogs are not legal advice. For information on how to obtain the correct legal advice, please contact Alliance.