Lucian’s case was referred by the social worker at Victoria hospital. He had a medical history of cerebral palsy, malnourishment, epilepsy, severe developmental delays and blindness. His social circumstances were poor and at the age of 10 years, he had never been to school. Lucian was admitted to Victoria Hospital during level 5 lockdown with a severe nappy rash.

The social worker conducted an investigation and determined that the biological mother left him unsupervised for a number of days without changing his nappy. The social worker requested that Lucian be kept in hospital whilst alternative placement was being explored as the biological mother was alcohol dependant and unable to care for the child concerned.

An application for placement was made to the Department of Social Development Centralised admissions as no family members were able to care for Lucian due to the severity of his disability which required medical care 24/7. The social worker approached 10+ organizations requesting assistance as Lucian was ready for discharge however no placement was available. DSD Centralised Admissions was unable to secure placement for him due to the severity of his disabilities.

During Lucian’s stay in the hospital he contracted Covid-19 but made a successful recovery under the supervision of the Victoria Hospital paediatric unit.

For six months the social worker advocated for Lucian’s rights and persevered in her placement applications despite being faced with the pressure from the hospital to discharge Lucian to free up bed space and the reality of a lack of facilities for severely disabled children.

Six months later the social worker and the social work and pediatrics teams at Victoria Hospital completed an application to Woodside Clinic Special Care Centre for Lucian. The Care Centre is a residential home caring for profoundly intellectually and physically disabled residents. A month later, the social worker was informed by the clinic that Lucian has been accepted at Woodside Special Care Centre. The social worker negotiated a reduced fee for Lucian at this private facility. The social worker opened children’s court proceedings and a court order was received for Lucian’s placement at the care centre. Great joy and elation was expressed by all the parties involved, but none greater than Lucian himself. He is now able to experience safety and security, specialised care to improve his quality of life and to prevent further illnesses and infections. Lucian is being provided with an opportunity to a life that is a close to normal as he can have.