Care and Protection Proceedings in the ACT – Part 2

The child’s best interests
In Care and Protection proceedings the Court must always consider the best interests of a child as the paramount consideration[1] when it is making any orders or determination for interim and long term placement and parental responsibility.

Primary consideration of the Court – The child’s best interests
Section 349 of the Children and Young People Act 2008 (“the Act”) set outs the care principles to be considered by the Court in order to make a determination about of what is in the best interest of a child in a particular case..

The Court must consider the following matters when determining what is in the child’s best interests:

  • Need to ensure the child is not at risk of abuse or neglect;
  • Any views, wishes or attitudes expressed by the child;
  • Nature of relationship between the child and the parents;
  • The likely effect of changes to the child’s circumstances
  • Practicalities of the child maintaining contact with each parent and anyone else;
  • Capacity of the child’s parents or anyone else to provide for the emotional and intellectual needs of the child;
  • The importance pf the child to be settled, stable and have permanent living arrangements;
  • For Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children it is a high priority to protect and promote their cultural and spiritual identity and development;
  • Need to ensure that any decision regarding placement is about safety, support and a stable environment;
  • Any abuse of neglect of the child or a family member;
  • Any court order applicable to the child or a family member
  • Any other fact or circumstances the decision make considers relevant

The Court has an obligation under the Act to ensure that all family members to care proceedings understand what the decision making process and what decision is going to be made. Parents and family members are given the opportunity to be heard and have their views and wishes expressed to the Court prior to any determination being made. The Director General also has an obligation and function under the Act to provide and assist strengthening and supporting families in relation to the wellbeing and care of children in care proceedings.

Our lawyers can may assist you with communicating with CYPS, the preparation of court documentation and providing you legal representation at court. If you or a family member find yourselves in a situation where a child has been removed from their parent’s care, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are able to give you legal advice in relation to this area of law.

Care and Protection Proceedings in the ACT – Part 1

[1] Section 8 in Part 1.2 of the Children and Young People Act 2008 entitled Objects, Principles and Considerations

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