A young Aboriginal mother and ward of the state whose home burnt down just before she gave birth was given inadequate support, an inquiry has heard.
The first royal commission hearing examining the experiences of Indigenous people with a disability and their contact with child protection services is continuing in Brisbane on Wednesday.
Speaking under the pseudonym Kate, the NSW woman told the commission she had received various diagnoses including a mild intellectual disability, ADHD, borderline Aspergers and autism.
She said the relationship with her ex-partner was regularly abusive.
Following the birth of her first child in her late teens, Kate told commissioners the service Healthy for Life would visit her to weigh and check on her baby.
Asked if she received specific services to look after her mental health and help her with the child, she replied "no".
Kate said she felt alone after moving into her first unit, which later burnt down after a gas heater explosion.
She told the hearing she tried to contact her foster mother to ask for help with cooking and washing clothes.
"Basically I had to learn myself," she said.
Kate's first three children were removed by the state, the hearing was told, but her experience improved after her fourth pregnancy.
With the help of NSW organisation the Intellectual Disability Rights Service (IDRS), Kate notified the state department of her pregnancy in the early stages.
She said she was scared to do so, but also scared her child would be taken if she didn't.
A prenatal case worker supported Kate through her pregnancy and after the birth of her child, and no action was taken to remove the baby.
Kate told commissioners the department needed to give First Nations parents with disabilities a chance to look after their child and "not just rip them away".
IDRS parent advocate Julia Wren told the hearing it was easier for a parent to keep a child rather than have them returned at a later date.
She said it was best for mothers to contact the department early during a pregnancy to organise a prenatal worker and address any concerns before the baby was born.
However, commissioners heard it could be arduous dealing with the department and organising a case worker.
"I was hassling the prenatal worker nearly on a daily basis in the end," Ms Wren said.
Twenty-five witnesses are scheduled to give evidence during the week-long hearing of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.
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Australian Associated Press