Child Safety Proceedings
The law gives the Child Safety Department the power to remove children from harm. The Office of the Child and Family Official Solicitor can make an urgent application in the court seeking a temporary assessment order or a court assessment order which allows child safety to investigate and have custody of the child without the parent’s consent. The purpose of the investigation is to determine if a child is in need of protection. Should the child safety investigation reveal that a child is in need of protection the Director of Child Protection Litigation (DCPL) will make an application to the court for a child protection order.
The DCPL can seek an order for a duration of up to two years, or a long term guardianship order if the child is in need of long term care. The court may make an order that gives the chief executive guardianship of the child until the application has been withdraw or until a final order is made.
A ‘child in need of protection’ is a child who: has suffered significant harm, or is suffering significant harm, or is at unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm in the future, and if there is not a parent able and willing to protect the child from the harm.
A Family Group Meeting will be held to discuss the steps forward. Should the DCPL continue with their application for protection order and the parents are still opposing the order a Court Ordered conference will be held so all parties can discuss the child protection order to see if an agreement can be reached in the child’s best interest. The final step if a child protection order is opposed is a trial.