One more chance for recovering drug addict mother
A NORTH Coast mother recovering from drug addiction has been given a chance to regain custody of her child.
The Lismore Children's Court last year removed the two-year-old child from his family home because of his mother's long history of drug abuse, mental health issues and chronic neglect of her other children.
The court ordered the boy to remain a ward of the state until he turned 18.
He was placed in the care of his older half-brother, and now attends preschool three days a week and has supervised contact with his parents twice a month.
Authorities have not identified any issues with the boy's development since he left his parents' care.
The mother and father both submitted to regular testing of their hair to ensure they were not using illegal drugs.
NSW District Court Judge Leonard Levy said the father had a criminal history spanning more than two decades, for which he had paid his penalties to society.
But more recently he was arrested and jailed for a year for manufacturing drugs, possessing an unregistered weapon and resisting arrest.
The mother has failed drug tests because she was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, the medication for which triggers a positive reading for amphetamines.
"The mother has obviously taken considerable steps to seek to show she has remained drug-free," Judge Levy said.
"This has been achieved at an expense she finds difficult to afford.
"She has had intermittent testing that goes a good way towards showing this to be the case."
Judge Levy thought it may be premature to return the child to his parents' care, but gave permission for the mother to make an application to have the Children's Court decision overturned.
"There are aspects of the applicant's position which tends to suggest she and the father are pursuing this application to satisfy their own needs to be with their child rather than acknowledging that it may be in the child's best interests to remain in the care of his elder half-brother, where he has a stable well-cared for existence," he said.
"On the other hand, a discernible change of course is apparent, particularly as the mother is under specialist medical supervision and treatment."