One of the nation’s ‘best barristers’ is gearing up to help reunite an eight-month-old baby with his teenage parents after he was taken and placed in foster care, friends say.
Distressing footage emerged of the baby being ripped from his mother’s arms as she breastfed in a car park in Brunswick Heads, near Byron Bay on the NSW North Coast.
Family and Community Services said the family’s lifestyle choices – particularly living outdoors and their anti-vaccination stance – was putting the little boy at risk.
The matter was mentioned in court last week, and the family, armed with legions of supporters, allegedly arrived with a local ‘Shaman’ to defend them.
Since then, a representative for the family clarified they have hired one of New South Wales’ ‘top barristers’ to represent them when the matter returns to the family court.
Friends are questioning whether the state had any right to take the baby away, given he was allegedly ‘never registered and does not have a birth certificate’.
While the lifestyle is unorthodox, those close to the situation insist the woman is a ‘great mother… doing what she thinks is best for her baby’
A friend of the young couple claimed this means the little boy ‘isn’t commonwealth property’ and therefore it was not legal for him to be removed from his parents’ care.
‘We all became property of the commonwealth [when we got birth certificates] and that means we have to abide by the Queen’s laws… I believe there is some kind of loophole here,’ the woman revealed.
A child must be registered within 60 days – or eight weeks – of birth, and it is the responsibility of the parents to do so.
Without registration papers and a birth certificate, a child cannot travel overseas, enrol in school or receive certain medical attention.
The young mother and father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have also been granted access to their son for ‘a couple of hours at a time, a few days a week’.
But the thought of then having to ‘leave him again’ is too much for the 17-year-old mother to bear and will leave both mother and son with ‘more abandonment wounds and trauma… So [she] has decided not to take up this offer’.
The baby’s mother was ’15 or 16′ when she fell pregnant and after going into labour on the beach, presented at her local hospital to give birth. Pictured: Mother and son together
An eight-month-old baby was forcibly removed from his mother’s care while she was in the process of breastfeeding him
Daily Mail Australia understands the Department of Family and Community Services has been a steadfast presence in the little boy’s life since he was born.
His mother was ’15 or 16′ when she fell pregnant and after going into labour on the beach, presented at her local hospital to give birth.
Her own mum couldn’t be there at the birth ‘due to Covid restrictions’ a friend of the family claims, and nurses at the hospital quickly established that she and her young boyfriend did not have a fixed address.
Family services were called and explained that they weren’t allowed to leave hospital with their baby unless they had an address to return to, so they provided the teen’s older sister’s address as a base.
The couple lived there ‘for a short time’ but eventually decided to return to their ‘outdoor lifestyle’ and raise their baby in the bush community they called home.
Authorities were ‘keeping a close eye’ on the couple before eventually swooping in on January 15th and removing the eight-month-old from the couple’s care.
‘They just wanted to live on the land and raise their child how they wanted,’ a friend explained.
The boy’s father (pictured with the baby) is concerned about how he is being treated in foster care. The young couple, who are 17 and 18, were resolved to raise him outdoors and ‘on the land’
The officers initially try to reason with her and convince her to hand her baby over, before eventually trying to peel her off him
‘The fact is.. this is not a neglected child, this child is thriving and nourished and very bonded with his mother.
‘This is discrimination for hope people want to raise their children… She is wanting to nourish and nurture her baby.’
Since the baby’s removal, his mother has developed mastitis due to not being able to express her breast milk, and both parents are said to be ‘heartbroken’.
Friends and family fear it is a matter of ‘history repeating itself as it did with the stolen generation’.
The confronting footage of the removal taken last month shows the topless mother clutching her little boy to her chest as she pleads with police to leave her alone.
‘This is not right, this is my baby. Please don’t take him,’ she repeatedly says.
The young couple (pictured) allegedly appeared in court alongside a ‘local Shaman’ to help return their baby. They have now enlisted the help of a ‘top barrister’
The baby’s father expressed concerns about the way he is being supported in the care of authorities. He said he was particularly worried the chemicals in which his baby is being bathed in and the thought of him sleeping alone
In the video, the young mother argues with several officers and support workers from family and community services, who arrived in her commune in the Byron Shire to remove the little boy.
While their ‘outdoor lifestyle’ is unorthodox, those close to the situation insist the woman is a ‘great mother… doing what she thinks is best for her baby’.
The officers initially try to reason with her and convince her to hand her baby over, before eventually trying to peel her off him.
They repeatedly tell her she is ‘hurting the baby’ as she tries to keep a hold of him.
One of the support workers at one stage hears the baby cry and tells the woman that there is no other outcome than him leaving her care.
‘He’s crying… We’ll sort stuff out but he’s going to have to go. This is not going to end any differently at the moment.’
The woman then says she has ‘concerns for the safety and well being of the baby’.
The baby’s father expressed concerns about the way he is being supported in the care of authorities.
What does it mean if a child was not registered at birth?
After giving birth, parents must register their baby within 60 days – or before the baby is eight weeks old.
This is not done at the hospital, but is free to do. It is how a child receives an official name and paperwork that they require for the rest of their life.
The birth must be registered before a family can get a birth certificate.
A birth certificate is needed to apply for:
– Access to healthcare and other government services
– Entry to childcare, kindy or school
– An Australian passport
Confronting footage shows the shirtless mother clutching her little boy close to her chest as she repeatedly asks the officers to leave her alone
He said he was particularly worried the chemicals in which his baby is being bathed in and the thought of him sleeping alone.
‘He sleeps in between [his mother] and I… Never by himself. When he wakes up at night, mumma is right there with her breast,’ he explained.
‘He never cries, is always smiling and laughing. We don’t know when he will return but we hope to be reunited soon.’
The graphic footage has sparked outrage online among the community, many of whom criticised the support workers for telling the young mum that she was ‘hurting’ her baby in the video.
One of the women said: ‘He’s getting squeezed and he’s crying. You’re squeezing him when you do that action.’
In response, the mother said that her ‘chest isn’t even on him’ and again reiterated that she did not want to hand her boy over.
A fundraising appeal to fund the family’s legal costs has already raised more than $25,000.